Heart condition ends UMass G Jaylen Brantley’s basketball career

  • UMass transfer guard Jaylen Brantley, shown above with Maryland last season, will not be able to play for the Minutemen due to a medical situation. AP

  • UMass transfer guard Jaylen Brantley, shown above with Maryland last season, will not be able to play for the Minutemen due to a medical situation. AP

@MattVautourDHG
Published: 10/10/2017 6:28:06 PM

Jaylen Brantley’s UMass playing career is over before he even played a game. A preseason physical revealed a previously undiagnosed heart condition that will prevent the graduate transfer from continuing his basketball career.

The condition was revealed during a standard electrocardiogram.

“First and foremost, we are thankful that this condition of Jaylen’s was detected and that he is healthy. While he is not going to be cleared for basketball-related activities, he can live a normal lifestyle which is a blessing for him and his family,” UMass coach Matt McCall said in a statement released by the athletic department. “We will continue to honor Jaylen’s scholarship so that he can further his education and be a part of the men’s basketball program in a leadership role.”

Brantley also released a statement:

“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,” Brantley said. “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 (@JayBrant2) also tweeted:

“This won’t define me. Im@here to inspire the world. Blessed to be alive.”

McCall said Brantley would have a scholarship at UMass for the next two years to pursue his master’s degree and a role with in the basketball program.

“The initial thing is to help him get over the sting of the news,” McCall said in a phone interview with the Gazette. “We’re here to support him. It’s bigger than basketball. He has a huge future. It may open up another door and we’re hear to support him through whichever door he chooses to walk through.”

McCall said the ordeal put things in perspective.

“As a coach you’re always so consumed with wins and losses and your program, when you’re faced with a situation like this, it may have saved his life,” McCall said. “I can put my head on the pillow at night knowing that he’s going to be OK going forward.”

Brantley, a Springfield native, completed his degree at Maryland over the summer and was set to take advantage of the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule that allows a player who has earned their degree to complete their eligibility at a different school.

The 5-foot-11 guard played at Springfield Central High School, Notre Dame Prep and Wilbraham & Monson. He initially committed to Marshall but ended up going to junior college instead, playing at Odessa (Texas) Community College for one season. He went from there to Maryland.

As a junior, he averaged 4.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 16.8 minutes per game backing up All-American Melo Trimble for the Terrapins. He shot 38.6 percent from 3-point range. He scored in double figures seven times as a junior.

He was expected to play a big role in UMass’ backcourt, where the 5-foot-11 guard was projected to start. The Minutemen now have just four scholarship guards eligible — Luwane Pipkins, C.J. Anderson, Unique McLean and Carl Pierre – while walk-on Rayshawn Miller is expected to see his role increase.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage




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