He’s a 6’7 senior on the men’s basketball team at UCLA. She’s a 5’11 freshman on the women’s team. Both are representing the UCLA Bruins in this year’s NCAA tournament — and their family.
Siblings Jamie Jaquez Jr. and Gabriela Jaquez are both enrolled at UCLA. Their parents, Jamie and Angela Jaquez, both also played in college, proving that maybe athletics run in their blood.
Jaquez, Jaquez Jr. and their younger brother Marco all grew up playing multiple sports. No matter what else they played, Jaquez and Jaquez Jr. dreamed of playing hoops at UCLA, just 45 minutes from where they grew up.
Jaquez Jr., who was a top recruit coming out of high school, said that he still remembers the feeling of stepping onto the Bruins’ court for the first time.
“I was nervous. I was just, was enamored by everything,” he told CBS News’ Dana Jacobson. “And then I remember hearing the UCLA student section start cheering everyone’s name, and then they were cheering my name. I didn’t realize what they were cheering.”
During his first three seasons with the Bruins, he started all but six games, gaining national recognition as the team made its way to the NCAA Final Four. Before his senior year, though, he had to think about his future: He could return to UCLA, or he could declare eligibility for the NBA draft and make a bid to go pro.
Jaquez said that while she wanted her brother to do “whatever was best for him,” she thought it would be “really, really cool” if he stayed at UCLA and they overlapped for a year.
“I was just like, you know, ‘Do what’s best for you,’ and I knew it would all work out in the end,'” Jaquez said. “But when he decided to come back, I was like ‘This is going to be fun.'”
Jaquez Jr. said that it’s been “pretty special” to overlap with his little sister.
For their parents, it’s meant lots of time watching their children’s games.
“This week, I’m going to go to Pauley Pavilion four times,” Jamie Jaquez Sr. said. “The kids (are) playing back to back to back to back to back. I think the ushers know our family and they know who I am.”
Keeping it all straight, he said, requires a lot of organization — including an Excel spreadsheet. It’s all worth it, though, he said.
“You have these dreams of your kids playing basketball and you don’t know what level they’re going to play,” Jaquez Sr. said. “And then to see just two of them at UCLA is pretty incredible.”
Sharing the court also allows the siblings to keep learning from each other. They share some skills, and both say they’ve learned from each other: Jaquez Jr. has adopted his sister’s relentless attitude, and Jaquez said she’s picked up some of her brother’s favorite plays.
“I think it makes it sweeter for sure,” Jaquez Jr. said. “I think my experience here has been great even before she was here. And I think that, you know, her experience right now … is great that I’m here. But once I depart, I think she’s still going to have a great time as well.”
“It’s just a really huge plus that we’re both here together,” Jaquez added. “I think we are still doing our own thing, you know, on different teams, chasing our own dreams. But it’s just really cool that we can share this experience together.”
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