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Latino brothers from UCLA become the first to play March Madness in the same season


Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Gabriela Jaquez are the first sibling duo to make the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the same college in the same season.

By Cora Cervantes -

NBC News

LOS ANGELES — Proud grandfather Ezequiel


Jaquez Jr. plans to watch the NCAA college basketball tournament Thursday and weekend from his home in Camarillo, Calif., to cheer on not one, but two of his grandchildren. .

Senior forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. will lead the No. 2-seeded UCLA men's team against their closest rival, No. 3 seed Gonzaga, on Thursday in Las Vegas.

His sister Gabriela, a freshman forward for the women's team, will face South Carolina, the number one seed overall, this Saturday.

If both teams win, they will advance to the NCAA Elite Eight round.

Jaime Jaquez Jr., who was just named Pac-12 Player of the Year, and Gabriela are the first sibling duo to make the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for the same school in the same season.

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This is Gabriela's first tournament, and Jaime's last, after a university experience full of triumphs. 

“It has been tremendous.

I am very proud of her and her hard work

,” Jaime Jaquez Jr. told the Pac-12 network when asked what it means to play in the NCAA tournament with her sister.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. in a game against the University of Southern California. Scott Chandler / UCLA Athletics

His grandfather is prepared to see him, especially since he is also an expert in this sport.

“I am excited and submitted,” the 83-year-old former basketball coach and teacher told NBC News, the sister network of Noticias Telemundo.

“I like to watch the game very calm.

I think about it as if I were in Jaimito's shoes: 'Oh Jaimito, you could have made that shot', or I think about the opportunity or the difficult situation the coach is in.”

“I have a tremendous sense of pride and excitement.

They are living what I wanted to do when I was in school,” she added.

This Mexican-American family loves the game.

The Jaquez family has been playing college basketball for three generations.

The journey began with Grandpa Zeke, the son of packers from Oxnard, California, who immigrated from Mexico.

He was the first to receive a college scholarship through basketball, playing shooting guard at Arizona State College, now known as Northern Arizona University, where he also received his teaching credentials.

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The tradition was continued by his son Jaime Jaquez Sr. – the siblings' father – who also played college basketball at Concordia University, where his wife Angela played on the women's basketball team.

“It opens your eyes to see that there aren't that many Mexican children out there, it gives me extra pride

,” said the older Jaquez.

“The wonderful thing is that maybe thanks to my experience, other people in my family, other kids thought about playing basketball,” he said.

Love for basketball and teaching

UCLA's Jaime Jaquez Jr., or Jaimito as he is affectionately called in his family, has broken many records throughout his college basketball career.

He recently passed legendary UCLA Hall of Famer Bill Walton for 12th place on the Bruins men's basketball all-time scoring list. 

“As a rookie you never know what to expect.

If they had told me my freshman year that he would win the Pac-12 championship and he would win player of the year, I don't know if I would have believed them.

It's been a crazy ride so far, I'm so thankful to be a part of it,” Jaime Jaquez Jr. stated during a UCLA press event this month.

Gabriela Jaquez and Jaime Jaquez Jr., from UCLA, are the first siblings to make the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the same school in the same season.Jan Kim Lim / UCLA Athletics

For the Jaquez family, however, it's not just about college basketball, it's also about education.

The grandfather and great-uncle of the UCLA stars were professors;

Jaime and Gabriela's mother, Angela, is also a teacher.

Through basketball, the family has blazed a path to higher education for themselves and others as well.

This year, in conjunction with the UCLA Latino Alumni Association, the Jaquez family launches the Jaquez Family Scholarship Fund. 

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“He is wonderful as an educator.

A source of pride and enjoyment that has come to our family thanks to Jaime and Gabriela”, said his grandfather about the scholarship.

He remembers that he organized what he called “scholarship lunches” for all of his grandchildren, in order to encourage them to pursue good grades as well as good results on the court. 

Reflecting on the family's journey through basketball and school, the older Jaquez said, “Our parents helped us, they had to ring the bell for my brother and I to come in, we had fun, we played and we got better.

Something we enjoyed turned into something that got us through college.”

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-03-24

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