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Former UCLA forward Jalen Hill has died, his family and senior high school coach say

UCLA forward Jalen Hill (24) takes a shot during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game.

UCLA forward Jalen Hill requires a shot against Washington State in 2021. (Ashley Landis / Associated Press )

Regardless of the circumstances, Jalen Hill could use in a broad grin that made those around him feel everything would be fine.

Only a excellent kid, had an excellent smile, said Josh Giles, his coach at Corona Centennial High before Hill continued to become starting forward-center at UCLA. He was an excellent basketball player, but I simply loved him as an individual.

Hill made international headlines before his first college game, becoming section of the trio of Bruins involved with a shoplifting spree in China that resulted in seasonlong suspensions. He made no excuses, accepting blame and learning to be a valued person in the team for pretty much four seasons before retiring in the spring of 2021 due to anxiety and depression.

Even then, Hill sounded as though he were on the verge of clearing another hurdle.

“Now each day it just appears like I’m winning because I’m here, Hill said, unleashing that smile again, I’m alive and my state of mind has changed immensely.

Hill, 22, died recently after going missing in Costa Rica, his family wrote within an Instagram post Tuesday. Giles confirmed the news headlines to THE CHANGING TIMES after exchanging texts with George Hill, Jalens father.

Im so stunned I dont have even an emotion at this time, Giles said. To listen to something like that is next-level devastating.

Hills family said in its Instagram post that it had been struggling to share any details.

We realize Jalen has played a component in the lives of a lot of people, the household wrote. We also acknowledge the role that so a lot of you have played in his. Once we make an effort to navigate this devastating amount of time in our lives, we ask that you please give us time and energy to grieve. Keep us in mind and prayers.

UCLA forward Jalen Hill grabs a rebound.

The Bruins’ Jalen Hill, center, grabs a rebound against NORTH PARK on Dec. 9, 2020, at Pauley Pavilion. (Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Said UCLA coach Mick Cronin in a statement: The news headlines of Jalen Hills passing is heartbreaking. Our thoughts and prayers are along with his family at the moment. Jalen was a warm-hearted son with an excellent smile who has left us much too soon.

The 6-foot-10 Hill played his last game for the Bruins on Jan. 30, 2021, going scoreless in 11 minutes against Oregon State. The team announced the next week he was sitting out a casino game against cross-town rival USC for personal reasons.

Hill never returned as UCLA advanced to the ultimate Four, later revealing he had become consumed by anxiety and depression after putting excessive pressure on himself to achieve success.

“I’m exactly like, nah, I have to take this break,” Hill told THE DAYS in April 2021 of his decision to leave the team. “It had been a hardcore decision to create, but once I knew what I had to accomplish, it wasn’t hard, like I determined, like, that is likely to help me.”

An essential section of UCLAs turnaround under Cronin, Hill finished his career with averages of 6.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game while making 54.6% of his shots. Unlike teammate LiAngelo Ball, who left the team in December 2017 after also being ensnared in the China fiasco, Hill and Cody Riley remained to rebuild their reputations.

Hill appeared on the upswing while talking about his travails, saying he previously adopted measures to greatly help his state of mind such as for example meditation and being open about his troubles with friends and family.

Giles recalled a thoughtful friend who walk to his home every school day so that they will make the commute to Centennial alongside fellow neighbor Sedrick Barefield, among Hills teammates. Exactly the same trio would return home after practices.

Driving home, we didnt desire to discuss basketball, so we discussed another thing, Giles said. Jalens a curious guy, he asks questions, hes awesome. Unbelievable conversations. We’d discuss everything politics, relationships, you name it. It had been like no holds barred, just open, honest conversations.

This story originally appeared in LA Times.

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