Former UCLA basketball player Jalen Hill dead after going missing in Costa Rica, family says
Former UCLA basketball player Jalen Hill died after missing Costa Rica, his family said.
Mr. Hill, 22, was the team’s star player before leaving basketball last year to focus on his mental health.
“We know Jaylen has played a role in many people’s lives,” the family wrote in an Instagram post. NBC Los Angeles“We also acknowledge the role that many of you have played in him. We ask you to give us time to grieve as we try to navigate this devastating time in our lives. Let us stay in your thoughts and in prayer.”
Mr. Hill is leaving the Bruins in 2021 after three seasons with the team, citing the need for treatment for his depression and anxiety.
The cause of death has not been released, and it is unclear why Mr. Hill was in Costa Rica.
Mr Hill’s former coach Mick Cronin los angeles timescalling him “an enthusiastic young man with a big smile who left us prematurely.”
His high school basketball coach, who also spoke to the paper, said he was “shocked” by the news.
“I’m stunned, I don’t even have any emotions right now,” said Josh Giles, his coach at Corona Centennial High School. “It’s next-level devastating to hear something like that.”
Mr Giles told Los Angeles Daily News He drove Mr Hill to school every day because the two lived in the same block.
“It was a 25-minute commute to school every day, so we would chat in the car, and it was never about basketball,” the coach recalled. “We would talk about politics, relationships, religion. He was a very curious, smart kid. I loved him. He was the best.”
The UCLA men’s basketball team remembered Mr. Hill on Twitter.
“Our program is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former student-athlete Jalen Hill,” UCLA men’s basketball team account writes. “We extend our sincerest condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Mr. Hill played his last game with the team on January 30, 2021. The following week, he missed a game for what UCLA called “personal” reasons.
He left the team shortly after, saying the pressure he felt to succeed made him very anxious and frustrated.
“I was like, no, I need to take a break,” Mr Hill told los angeles times April 2021. “It was a tough decision, but once I knew what I had to do, it wasn’t that hard, as I thought it would help me.”