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Former UCLA Basketball Player Jalen Hill Dies at Age 22
The news was shared by his family after Hill went missing in Costa Rica.
Bruin fans were shocked and saddened last night when news broke that former UCLA basketball player Jalen Hill had died at the age of 22. The news was revealed in an Instagram post by his family and later confirmed by the school.
No details regarding Hill’s death have been released at this time. In the Instagram post announcing his death, his family noted that he had recently gone missing in Costa Rica, though no specific timeframe has been provided.
Jalen Hill was an exceptional player for UCLA during his time with the program. Over the better part of three seasons, Hill became the defensive anchor that drove UCLA’s improvement on that end while averaging 6.5 points and 6.4 assists per game over his career.
Hill left the team in the midst of the 2020-2021 season. After the season, Hill revealed that he had left for mental health reasons, and had chosen not to reveal the reasoning until after UCLA’s season had ended, in order not to distract from the team. UCLA would ultimately go to the Final Four that season. In his announcement, Hill revealed that he was in a much better place mentally as a result of his decision, noting:
When I (took a step back), it was a whole new life. I never felt this happy before in my life. I just wake up and I’m happy to be alive. It sounds crazy to say it, but it’s just true. It was hard for me to go back to the team when I was trying 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. That’s the greatest gift you could ever give to anybody is just being who you are. And I was doing stuff that was not me.
So when I figured that out, I couldn’t really go back, especially with all the good stuff that has been happening to me recently. I know I made the right decision.
UCLA coach Mick Cronin released a statement on his Twitter, stating that Hill was “a warm-hearted young man with a great smile who has left us far too soon.” His sentiment was shared by many across the UCLA universe who had the pleasure of interacting with him, with everyone noting what an exceptional human being he was.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jalen’s family during this time.