Former UCLA men’s basketball player Jalen Hill has died, according to a post from his mother on Instagram tonight. Hill, 22, had recently gone missing in Costa Rica.
Despite vomiting and having difficulty sleeping, Jalen Hill decided to stay in his room when he was at his lowest.
He has suffered from panic attacks since high school; however, the inner turmoil he felt was different from these previous afflictions. Others included an international shoplifting scandal before UCLA even began his basketball career, as well as acknowledging anxiety and depression that could become debilitating.
As a redshirt junior, Hill felt an extreme pressure to succeed with the Bruins. He tried to cope with this burden by drinking alcohol after games, although this only partially relieved his pain. Hill shared his struggles with his roommate Tyger Campbell, which helped a little.
It was impossible to completely eliminate the unbearable pain. Midway through the season, Kenny Hill lay in bed desperate to see or do anything. He decided that he needed to save himself by removing something that used to define him. This decision was made after another restless night.
According to The Times, Hill made up his mind to leave the team in early February. He said that making this decision was difficult, but he didn’t have any difficulty once he figured out what he had to do. He believed that leaving the team would help him, and he felt like he needed a break.
By walking away from basketball, Hill was able to focus on himself as a person instead of a power forward. He claimed retirement earlier this week in an Instagram video that has been viewed over 12,600 times. When comparing himself to other players on the court, Hill stated that the relief he felt was overwhelming.
Only by improving daily and understanding that only his own internal judgment matters is he able to achieve victories.
Hill stated that the pressure to be better than someone else on a daily basis is immense. When you win, you win, and when you lose, you lose. However, she states that her mental state has improved significantly since she was able to survive.
Hill released a video revealing his mental health issues and the massive amount of love shown to him since. He encouraged others dealing with similar problems to discover the support available by looking for it.
Hill said he’s an introvert and nature prefers to live in isolation. The COVID-19 pandemic gave him the opportunity to freely live in isolation; he only left his room for practices and games. However, he kept most of his struggles to himself and told only Campbell and a UCLA therapist about his issues. Hill says he wished he’d cast a wider net and seek help from other sources.
Hill explained, “The main reason nobody knew was because I wasn’t telling anyone. When people know about you, you feel comfortable enough to step outside of your comfort zone. Instead, you’re confined to your mind.”
Cody Riley, Jalen Hill and LiAngelo Ball got in trouble for shoplifting in China before any of them started college. Consequently, all three players were suspended for a year when they started at UCLA. Ball decided to leave the school following the incident.