No. 4 UCLA has had an interesting year. After bringing almost everybody back from last year’s Final Four team, expectations were high. Although the Bruins dealt with numerous injuries, they had a decent season. In the first round, UCLA beat No. 13 Akron in a nail biter. The Bruins had a major bounce-back game in the second round when they took down No. 5 Saint Mary’s by double digits.
UCLA’s best player: G Jaime Jaquez Jr.
This season, Jaquez is averaging 14 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. He’s shooting 77.3% from the free throw line, which is a career high. Jaquez gets the edge over Johnny Juzang, who you could make an argument to be UCLA’s best player. His coming out party was last year during the NCAA tournament.
Jaquez is a tough player who does a lot well for his team. He’s got a high IQ and has been the rock for head coach Mick Cronin for two years in a row. While Jaquez can score with ease, he’s also a decent rebounder and plays solid defense as well.
If Jaquez were to leave for the 2022 NBA Draft following the season, he’d likely go somewhere in the second round. In the future, Jaquez will probably be a good role player on a team in the NBA.