Basketball rocked by tragic death of UCLA star Jalen Hill at 22, missing in Costa Rica

Former UCLA basketball player Jalen Hill died recently after going missing in Costa Rica, his family announced Tuesday night. Hill was 22, the New York Post reported.

“We know Jalen has played a role in so many people’s lives,” the family wrote in an Instagram post. “We also recognize the role so many of you have played in his. As we try to navigate this devastating time in our lives, we ask that you please give us time to grieve. Keep us in your thoughts. and your prayers.

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The power forward played three seasons for the Bruins and averaged nine points and seven rebounds in his second season.

“The news of Jalen Hill’s passing is heartbreaking. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time. Jalen was a warm young man with a big smile who left us far too soon,” the coach said. UCLA, Mick Cronin, in a statement.

Hill left the UCLA program midway through his junior season in 2021, citing depression and anxiety.

“When I (stepped back) it was a whole new life,” Hill said at the time. “I’ve never felt so happy in my life. I just woke up and I’m just happy to be alive. And it sounds crazy to say it, but it’s just true.

Hill had been missing for a few days, his family said.

The 6-foot-10 forward was in Corona, Calif. native and four-star rookie for UCLA. His career with the Bruins got off to an inauspicious start when he, along with fellow freshmen LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley, were arrested in China in 2017 for shoplifting while there for a game against Georgia. Tech. This led to a one-season suspension for all three players and made headlines as LiAngelo was part of the famous basketball family, led by talkative patriarch LaVar Ball.

Hill, however, remained with the team and became a strong contributor to the winning program.

“I’m so stunned, I don’t even have any emotion right now. Hearing something like this is devastating at the next level,” said Josh Giles, Hill’s high school coach at Corona Centennial High, Los Angeles. Angeles Times.

This story first appeared in New York Post and has been republished with permission.

Originally published as Basketball in mourning over the tragic death of college star Jalen Hill at 22