He is a 6’7 senior on the men’s basketball team at UCLA. She is a 5’11 freshman on the women’s team. Both are representing the UCLA Bruins — and their families — in this year’s NCAA tournament.
Siblings Jamie Jacquez Jr. and Gabriella Jacquez are both enrolled at UCLA. Their parents, Jamie and Angela Jacquez, both played in college, proving that maybe athletics runs 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 he still remembers the feeling of stepping on the Bruins’ court for the first time.
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“I was nervous. I was just, fascinated by everything,” he told CBS News’ Dana Jacobson. “And then I remember the UCLA student section started cheering everybody’s name, and then they were cheering my name. I didn’t understand what they were cheering.”
In his first three seasons with the Bruins, he started all but six games, gaining national recognition as the team advanced 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 turn pro.
Jaquez said that while he wanted his brother to “do what’s best for him,” he thought it would be “really, really cool” if he was 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 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 overlapping with his little sister has been “pretty special.”
The Jacques family
For their parents, this means a lot of time watching their kids’ games.
“This week, I’m going to go to Paoli Pavilion four times,” Jamie Jaquez Sr. said. “The (kids) are playing back and forth. I think the ushers know our family and they know who I am.”
Keeping things straight, he says, many organizations need an Excel spreadsheet. It’s all worth it, though, he says.
“You have these dreams of your kids playing basketball and you don’t know what level they’re going to play at,” Jaquez Sr. said. “And then to see only two of them at UCLA is pretty incredible.”
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Courts allow shared siblings to learn from each other. They share some skills, and both say they’ve learned from each other: Jacquez Jr. has adopted his sister’s relentless attitude, and Jacquez says he’s picked up some of his brother’s favorite plays.
“I think it definitely makes it sweeter,” Jaquez Jr. said. “I think my experience here even before he got here was great. And I think that, you know, his experience right now … it’s great that I’m here. But once I’m gone, I think he’ll still be a Great time too.”
“It’s a really huge plus that the two of us are here together,” Jacquez added. “I think we’re still doing our own thing, you know, in different teams, chasing our own dreams. But it’s really cool that we can share this experience together.”