All in the family: how three generations of Jaquezes have ruled West Coast basketball

LOS ANGELES. Gabriela Jacquez’s biggest fan walked into the Pauly Pavilion on a Saturday afternoon with a couple of his buddies. He was wearing ripped jeans and a flannel shirt and flopped into the front row as fans whispered about him to each other. But his focus was solely on the UCLA freshman forward.

When Gabriela hit a 3-pointer late in the third quarter, Jaime Jacques Jr. — the UCLA men’s basketball star and her older brother — stood up, shook his fist and high fived his friends. But the only former All-American McDonald’s in the family, Jacques, and its most competitive member, didn’t seem to notice the reaction of her brother or her family sitting in the stands and stepped back to the defense.

Basketball games are the norm for the Jacques family. A few hours earlier, Jaime Jr. had scored double figures on the same court, also in front of his family.

The Bruins won, but Gabriela only scored three points. After the game, she moved into the many siblings, nieces, nephews, parents, aunts, and uncles who were waiting for her in the corridor of the Paulie Pavilion. Surrounded by her family, she hugged her father and rested her head comfortably on his shoulder.

“We’re both competitive,” Jaime Jr. told Sportzshala of his sister’s reaction to what she called a disappointing performance despite also hitting nine rebounds.

Gabriela added: “We will learn from this lesson. Many of us are in a hurry and want to make an extra pass, especially for me. get there.”

The game ended a busy weekend — three high school or college basketball games in 24 hours — for a family that wears “Team Jaquez” T-shirts to games. But it’s a familiar routine. More than a dozen relatives travel between the Pauli Pavilion and their hometown of Camarillo, California, 45 miles northwest of Westwood, to support talented siblings, including younger brother Marcos, a basketball player and up-and-coming football player at Camarillo High School. .

The history of college basketball is full of siblings who played the sport at the elite level. But Jaime Jr., Gabriela and Marcos represent the third generation of basketball players in their family. In sports with limited Mexican representation, Juan Toscano-Anderson (Marquette), Jorge Gutierrez (California), Horacio Llamas (Grand Canyon) and Eduardo Najera (Oklahoma) are four of five NBA players with Mexican roots since 1946, and Evina Westbrook (Connecticut) became the first Mexican-American WNBA player when she was drafted by the Seattle Storm in 2022 – the legacy of the Hakes family may be unparalleled. But it was their commitment to their bonds and heritage that allowed them to flourish on basketball courts all over the West Coast for decades. The rise of Jaime Jr. and Gabriela is a testament to the support and love that surrounds them and the sacrifices made before they were born.

“When I was very young, I just thought that everyone would come to your games and support [you]but then, as I got older, I realized that this is not true for everyone,” Jaime Jr. said. “And I started to appreciate it a lot more.”

ranch dressing, old rim and legacy

At Toppers Pizza in Camarillo, members of the Jacques family took up two large tables, passing around a selection of pizzas—creamy garlic chicken, dijon chicken ranch, and hot honey.

“You should add a ranch to this,” Marcos advised, taking a bite about an hour after his family watched him play basketball.

Cousins, uncles, grandparents and other relatives gathered Friday night, family members who roam the West Coast and beyond to watch Jacques athletes compete in everything from softball and volleyball to basketball, baseball and football. The goal is to make sure everyone who plays feels supported.

At the head of one of the tables sat Ezequiel and Gloria, Jaime Jr., and Gabriela’s grandparents.

Ezequiel’s parents knew little about basketball after they emigrated from Mexico and moved to Oxnard, California when their son was a child. But Ezequiel remembers convincing his father to build a ring for him and his brother Dick to train with. Except that it wasn’t a normal rim; it was less than a foot wide, much less than the 18-inch width of a standard size cylinder.

“By the time we got to the bigger rim, it was easy,” Ezequiel said.

In high school, he gained recognition in local newspapers as one of the first Mexican American players in the area to compete at the elite level. But he still laments the old rules of the game.

“If we had a three-point line, I would have scored a lot more,” he joked.

Ezequiel continued to play basketball at Ventura Community College before moving to Northern Arizona. He then became a local high school coach who helped Marion Jones, a former Olympic gold medalist and former North Carolina basketball standout, develop her game.

Gloria is the matriarch who helped the family keep their friendship. After coming to America over 50 years ago to visit her sister, she met Ezequiel. Once married, Gloria, who did not speak English then, created a thriving hairdressing business in Camarillo. To this day, most of her children and grandchildren live in Camarillo.

Every Sunday, she cooks a big dinner for her family, who come in and out to say hello and eat. This is more than a tradition; it is a legacy that Gabriela and Jaime Jr. hold dear.

“I am very proud of them,” Gloria said.

A few years ago, she returned to Mexico and hosted a big reception for her family. She smiled as she showed pictures of the congregation, one in particular: more than 100 members, including Jaime Jr., Gabriela, and others from California, stand in front of a church she once attended as a teenager.

Pride in these moments permeates the bond of the Jacques family. This is the basis of their unity.

Jaime Sr. followed in his father’s footsteps by playing college basketball at Concordia University in Irvine, California, where he met Angela, his wife, who also played college basketball. As Jaime Jr. and Gabriela began to show the first signs that they might have a future in basketball, Jaime Sr. coached his kids at the AAU level but never accelerated their development. He wanted them to become versatile players while still having fun.

“I just wanted to make sure they win first and I wanted them to go through all the stages,” he said. “The whole community, because they have friends, they played with them on our team. And our team, both of our teams, were very, very good.”

A new generation is taking off

All three of the Hakes siblings recently acknowledged their Mexican ancestry by striking a name-and-likeness (NIL) deal with Tricolor Holdings, a Dallas-based company that helps Hispanic immigrants buy and finance cars.

The deal is perhaps the biggest expression of Jacques’ legacy. Even more so than Jaime Jr. playing for Mexico at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

“His Spanish got better,” Gloria joked.

An expected second-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, according to Sportzshala, Jaime Jr. could be one of the few Mexican-born players to compete in the NBA.

But that’s not his focus. Rather, he wants his name to stand next to such greats as Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. At first, he wants to be known as a Bruins legend.

“I like to represent the country and represent the culture of something bigger than myself,” he said. “But I also like to think that I want to be remembered as a great basketball player, not just as a great Mexican basketball player. A lot of people get lost in it.”

“At the end of the day, we are all just people. So whether I’m Mexican or not – and I love to embrace my culture, and that’s who I am – I’m human at the end of the day. “

Like most prospects today, Gabriela and Jaime Jr. had the opportunity to transfer to other high schools or prep programs. But their father wasn’t interested in joining the nationwide trend in which many of the top players are leaving their local schools for private or prep schools. The two played all four years at Camarillo High School. Marcos is also there now.

“One of the things I thought about was that I had all my friends,” Jaime Jr. said. “I didn’t want to leave and go to a new school and meet a bunch of people. I love my friends. I just wanted to play with them and see what I can do. otherwise obviously [there was] representing my city, Camarillo, and I wanted to promote it in a positive way.”

Gabriela admits that she also chose UCLA because she wanted to stay close to those she loves. It helps that this was her dream school.

“I was at basketball camp in fourth grade and we were just asked to write down our goals,” she said. “It was basketball and life goals. And I said, “Get an offer from UCLA,” “Get a scholarship,” “Be kind to my brothers,” and “Be left-handed.” Such things. To look back and know that I achieved those goals… still working on my brothers, right?”

Jaime Jr. and Gabriela still return to Camarillo during the season. Sometimes they bring their friends over and show them how to put ranch on top of their favorite pizza slices. Family visits help them recover during the long and busy season.

But they will see them between visits as well. Through group texts, it is collectively decided who and when will be present at which game. There is a Jaques family rule: no matter who plays or where he plays, a family member is in the stands. The weekly shuffle also includes balancing out the ups and downs that competition inevitably brings, like celebrating Jaime Jr.’s great performance against Denver and comforting Gabriela a few hours later.

Despite a disappointing performance, Gabriela is a rising young player who has been hired to be the Bruins’ anchor.

“Gabriela Jacques just from the bottom of my heart,” said UCLA women’s coach Corey Close. “She…


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