MIAMI – The Miami Heat selected UCLA forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. in the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft on Thursday.
On Friday, Local 10 News obtained video of Heat President Pat Riley calling Jaquez moments after the team selected him.
Riley: “How are you doing, Jaime?”
Jaquez: “I’m doing good coach. I want to say I’m on top of the world right now.”
Riley: “We are too. We’re delighted and excited that you were there for us.”
Before ending the call, Jaquez thanked the team for taking a chance on him and said he wouldn’t let the team down.
Jaquez joins a franchise known for maximizing its roster while reaching the NBA Finals in two of the last four seasons.
The Heat have paired stars Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo with unheralded players such as Caleb Martin, Max Strus and Duncan Robinson that have been developed into key parts of the rotation.
Miami’s roster also features another former Bruin in veteran forward Kevin Love.
After helping UCLA reach the Final Four and two additional trips to the Sweet 16, Jaquez told reporters after being drafted that he understands what it takes to maintain a standard of excellence like the one established by the Heat.
During his senior season at UCLA, Jaquez averaged 17.8 points per game, 8.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.5 steals.
He spent four seasons at UCLA before declaring for the draft and was eligible to return to school using the extra year of COVID eligibility.
It’s unclear as to what kind of role Jaquez will play but the team will have to decide if the rookie will make his NBA summer-league debut when it starts on July 7.