Former Kentucky Basketball, Baseball Player Ben Jordan Dies at Age 22

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2021

Basketball through the hoop in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
BILL FEIG/Associated Press

Ben Jordan, who played basketball and baseball at the University of Kentucky, died Monday at the age of 22.

The University of Kentucky announced the news Tuesday and provided a statement from head men's basketball coach John Calipari:

"Our hearts are broken today. We learned early this morning that we have lost Ben Jordan. It is difficult for me to express and to put into words what a tragedy it is to lose a young person too early. Ben impacted our team last season in so many ways with his kind heart, his big smile and his wonderful personality. He cared so deeply about this place and it meant so much to him to be a part of this team. We are grieving today over the loss of a teammate and a brother, but Ben will not be forgotten. We ask that everyone keep Ben and his family in their thoughts and prayers during this time as we try to find a way forward. Ben, may you rest in peace."

After redshirting on the baseball team in 2018, Jordan appeared in 10 games during the 2019 season as a pitcher. He then walked on to the basketball team and appeared in two contests last season.

The 6'9", 250-pound native of Olive Hill, Kentucky, allowed eight hits and seven runs over 8.2 innings pitched, while striking out eight for the baseball team in 2019.

Jordan received multiple accolades, including being named first-team All-Cal Ripken Collegiate League in 2019 and earned SEC Academic Honor Roll honors twice.

He sat out the entire 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but made his way back onto the mound for the 2019 campaign and was listed on the Wildcats' 2021 roster after the 2020 season was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kentucky head baseball coach Nick Mingione had the following to say about Jordan on Tuesday:

"We are devastated to learn of Ben Jordan's tragic passing last night. There are no words to express the shock and heartache our team is feeling with the loss of Ben. He was an absolute joy to coach and be around. His coaches, teammates and brothers loved him dearly. His smile, his sense of humor and love for this university will never be forgotten. He will be missed beyond measure. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ben's family and we will support them in any way we can during this extremely difficult time. We are all hurting and will find a way carry Ben's legacy forward and keep him in our heart always."

Jordan, who starred in both baseball and basketball at West Carter High School, made brief cameos in games against Eastern Kentucky and Mount St. Mary's for the Wildcats basketball team last season as well.

He didn't register any stats in less than two minutes on the floor and went 0-of-1 on field-goal attempts for a Kentucky team that was 25-6 when COVID-19 ended the season prematurely.