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John Calipari hoping walk-on Ben Jordan “benefits” as much from basketball experience as Cats are from him

Ben Jordan (Vicky Graff Photo)


Adding 6-9 junior baseball pitcher Ben Jordan to the Kentucky basketball roster was done so coach John Calipari would have enough inside players to practice regularly without being shorthanded.

Yet Calipari says he did not add Jordan to be “physical” with Richards in practice even though the UK junior has been bothered by “rough” play the last two seasons when he got pushed around a lot in the paint by more physical Kentucky opponents.

Calipri says Jordan, who just recently joined the team, is still trying to “figure out” how to play.  However, the UK coach said when he asked his players how much Jordan was helping they “went crazy.” Later the newest basketball coach explained to his coach what he has been like for him since he joined the basketball team.

He said, ‘I went home and we had people crying, and there were T-shirts for me. Coach, I was a really good pitcher. Like I’m an All-American in baseball and no one has said anything,'” Calipari said Jordan told him.

But once he  joined the UK basketball team and went back to Olive Hill where he played for West Carter High School , his visit home dramatically changed even thought he had just barely been on Calipari’s team.

Calipari said Jordan told him “they’re doing jerseys for me” and laughed at the thought.

“My hope is he benefits by this whole experience. (Kentucky baseball coach) Nick (Mingione) and I talked. I gave him (Jordan) one of the books that I’m giving the guys to read. ‘The Stillness (is the Key)’ book (by Ryan Holiday) and I think – I told him, ‘I think it’ll be great for you, being a pitcher and being on that mound by yourself.’ So, I’m hoping this helps him. Obviously he’s helping us,” Calipari said.


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