Jalen Hill, former UCLA basketball player, dies at 22

Former UCLA basketball player Jalen Hill has died at age 22, his family confirmed Tuesday on social media. Hill made 77 starts with the Bruins in three seasons from 2018-21. Hill’s family said he went missing while in Costa Rica, and they recently learned of his passing.

“We realize that many will have questions but we are unable to share any details at this time,” they said. 

Hill retired following the 2020-21 season, announcing the news in a video on social media citing mental health battles that prompted him to step away.

“I had a bunch of anxiety and depression problems,” he said, adding that some of that initially rose from being arrested in China in 2017. “It came up this past year, then COVID happened, everything like that. It was just a lot for me. So I had to take a step back. When I did that, it was just a whole new life. I never felt this happy before.”

Hill was arrested and subsequently suspended in 2017 on shoplifting charges, along with LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley, while UCLA was on a trip to China early that season. The trio was detained in China while the rest of the team went home, spending three days in confinement and facing potential jail time before being released.

A Corona, California, native, Hill chose UCLA in an early 2015 commitment. A 6-foot-8 forward, he was a consensus four-star prospect and a top-10 recruit in his home state.

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

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