LEXINGTON, Ky. – When fans tune in to the annual Blue-White Game on Friday night, they’ll notice a considerable new presence on the bench in the form of a 6-foot-9, 250-pound forward.
The Kentucky men’s basketball team has added Ben Jordan, a right-handed pitcher on the UK baseball team, to its roster for the 2019-20 season. Jordan is not expected to participate in Friday’s Blue-White Game but has committed to the team after attending practice for the first time Tuesday.
Jordan, a highly regarded prospect with a lively arm, played basketball in high school at West Carter High School in Olive Hill, Kentucky, where he was the team’s all-time leading rebounder and shot blocker.
“Like so many others in the state of Kentucky, basketball has been a part of my life since I was just a kid,” Jordan said. “When the opportunity presented itself to join the UK basketball team, I wanted to go into it with an open mind, especially since I stepped away from the sport to focus on baseball. After a couple of days of practice, it’s clear to me that this is something I want to commit to.
“Baseball has been and will remain my top priority, but I’m excited about the opportunity and the challenge of competing in two sports I love to play. I’ve talked to Coach (Nick) Mingione about it and we did this with his full blessing. I’m looking forward to helping in practice and being a great teammate this season.”
While Jordan dazzled on the mound for West Carter, he punished opponents in the paint on the basketball court. A physical presence at 6-9, Jordan was not only a strong rebounder and shot blocker, he finished his four-year career as the school’s eighth-leading scorer.
Jordan won the Eastern Kentucky Conference Defensive Player of the Year in his senior season in addition to EKC First Team honors. He averaged 12.2 rebounds a contest in his final year.
“I really appreciate Ben helping our team and agreeing to be a part of this,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “He has a great demeanor and a way about him that really fits in well with this team. The guys already have embraced him as one of our own. I think he’ll be a great addition to this team.”
Jordan is expected to be a major part of the UK baseball team in the spring. A 2016 Under Armour All-American in high school, he appeared in 10 games last season after redshirting in 2018 with an injury. Over the summer, playing for the Gaithersburg Giants of the Cal Ripken College Baseball League, Jordan appeared in seven games with six starts. He went 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 26.2 innings, allowing just 14 hits while striking out 36 en route to First Team All-Cal Ripken League honors.
“This is a unique opportunity for Ben and one we support wholeheartedly,” Mingione said. “He’s a tremendous young man and student-athlete. I’m confident Ben will be a great teammate and a positive addition for Coach Cal and the men’s basketball program. I’m looking forward to watching Ben take on this opportunity.”
The addition of Jordan puts Kentucky at 14 players on the roster for the 2019-20 season.