Former UCLA Bruins men’s basketball player Jalen Hill is dead, according to reports. Hill’s family released a statement announcing his death after he recently went missing in Costa Rica.
“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.
“We know Jalen has played a part in the lives of so many people. We also acknowledge the role that 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.”
Jalen’s father, George Hill, posted this on Instagram confirming Jalen’s passing. pic.twitter.com/TU1tjscVCl
— Tarek Fattal (@Tarek_Fattal) September 21, 2022
Bruins head coach Mick Cronin who coached Hill for parts of two seasons offered condolences.
“The news of Jalen Hill’s passing is heartbreaking. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time,” said Cronin. “Jalen was a warm-hearted young man with a great smile who has left us far too soon.”
The news of Jalen Hill's passing is heartbreaking. 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. pic.twitter.com/YK69T7r91B
— Mick Cronin (@CoachMickCronin) September 21, 2022
Hill played high school basketball at Centennial High School in Corona, California. He was a top 100 recruit and signed his letter of intent to play at UCLA in 2017. Hill didn’t play in his true freshman season after he and two other UCLA players, including LiAngelo Ball and Cody Riley, were arrested for shoplifting while in China for a game in November 2017.
After the shoplifting incident Hill was suspended for the 2017-18 season and ultimately rejoined them playing for the Bruins from 2018 to 2021. He left the team in February of 2021 and at the conclusion of the 2021 season he explained his reasons citing anxiety and depression. Hill posted a video on Instagram announcing his decision.
“I just had to distance myself because the headspace I was in, it was damaging the team,” Hill said in the video. “So I didn’t want to restrict them from achieving their goals, too.”
Josh Giles, Hill’s coach at Centennial, has been in contact with the family and spoke about his former athlete.
“He was a great basketball player, but I just loved him as a person. I’m so stunned I don’t even have an emotion right now,” said Giles. “To hear something like this is next-level devastating.”
It is unclear whether or not the family will release any additional details surrounding Hill’s death.
During his three years at UCLA, Hill played in 77 games and averaged 6.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.