FORMER UCLA Bruins basketball star Jalen Hill tragically passed away at the age of 22.
The former student-athlete was reported missing while in Costa Rica, before his passing was announced.
Jalen hill played for the UCLA Bruins for three years[/caption]
Jalen Hill retired from basketball in 2021[/caption]
His father confirmed the news on Tuesday via an Instagram post as confirmed by Sports Illustrated, stating: “Our hearts are shattered and completely broken to inform family and friends that our beloved son, Jalen has passed away.”
“Jalen went missing while in Costa Rica and we have recently learned of his passing. We realize that many will have questions but we are unable to share any details at this time.
“As we try to navigate this devastating time in our lives, we ask that you please give us time to grieve.”
Born in Tampa, Florida, Hill was the son of George who starred for Kansas State’s basketball team between 1993-1996.
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Hill followed his father to the basketball world, playing for Centennial High School’s varsity team for four years.
In 2015, Hill was a member of USA basketball’s team at the FIBA Americas U-16 Championship.
Hill played in every game at the championship, winning a gold medal after they went 5-0, averaging 8.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
When it came to graduating and taking the next step, Hill was ranked 47th nationwide by ESPN, per UCLA.
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In 2017, along with two teammates, Cody Riley and LiAngelo Ball, Hill was arrested in China.
The three were accused of shoplifting and subsequently suspended for their freshman year.
In a video posted to his Instagram last September, Hill said that since that incident, “from that point on, I was really trying to get somewhere fast, and I was trying to get to the league.
“I was looking at a goal in mind and, yeah it’s a cool goal. A lot of people have that goal.
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“And I was really trying to go super fast like if that was going to help at all. Cause I felt as if I was behind.
“And by doing that it really tripped me up more than if I were just to take my time and enjoy my surroundings and enjoy the company that I had in the people around me.”
While Ball left the program, Hill and Riley returned to make their debuts in 2018.
As a sophomore, Hill started fifteen of his 33 total appearances averaging 4.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
Hill finished fourteenth in the Pac-12 in rebounding with 6.0 per game, and finished with a team-high .589 field goal percentage within the Pac-12.
This upward trend continued in 2019, when Hill enjoyed a career-year for the Bruins.
Hill started 25 of 30 games, recording 9.0 points on average and a team high in rebounds per game with 6.9 and blocks with 1.1.
Ranking ninth in the Pac-12 in rebounds, seventh in offensive rebounds, and eighth in blocked shots, along with his team-high four double-doubles were enough to get him named an honorable mention on the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honors.
Unfortunately for Hill, his junior year proved to be his last.
Hill missed the Bruins’ first four games due to a knee injury, and their last sixteen games for personal reasons.
During his fourteen appearances, none of which he started, Hill averaged 6.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks.
Jalen Hill retired following his junior year[/caption]
In April 2021, Hill opted to retire from the sport due to anxiety and depression.
In an Instagram video, Hill said that his mental health issues began following his arrest in 2017 “I didn’t really want to open up.
“And it came up this past year, and then this year, and then COVID happened and everything like that – it was just a lot for me.
“So I had to take a step back. And when I did that it was a whole new life. I’ve never felt this happy before in my life.”
Hill explained that when he had previously returned to the team, it had been hard for him “to go back to a past life when I was trying to live up to somebody’s expectations of me, trying to live up to somebody’s perception of how my life should be, instead of just being who I am.”