Jaylen Brantley spent two seasons with Maryland basketball, and was set to spend his final college season at UMass. But before he could play a single game for the Minutemen, his season—and career—met an abrupt end Monday.
A previously undiagnosed heart condition was discovered during Brantley’s preseason medical screening, the program announced. That condition will keep him off the court, but UMass will honor his scholarship for the next two years. Brantley will remain with the program in a “leadership role,” head coach Matt McCall said.
Here’s Brantley in the release:
"While knowing my basketball career will be over, the fact that I will be able to live a healthy, normal lifestyle does give me peace of mind. This has been a hard process, but I am thankful for the support and guidance of Coach McCall, the medical staff at UMass, my teammates, my mother and my family. It's certainly a difficult diagnosis to receive, but there is so much I want to do in life and knowing this early will help me in the long term. I thank God that this condition was detected and may have saved my life and, for that, I will be forever grateful."
Brantley’s life and basketball career have been filled with obstacles and setbacks; this is simply the latest one. He’s bounced around the college landscape, with stops at Marshall, Odessa junior college and Maryland before joining UMass as a graduate transfer. Brantley played in 65 games with the Terps, and he averaged 4.9 points per game in 2016-17.
The Springfield, Massachussetts, native came to UMass so that his family and friends could see him play, and he would likely have been one of the team’s premier players. None of that will ultimately come to fruition, but he’s looking forward already.