Kentucky baseball player Ben Jordan, who also walked on to the Wildcats basketball team last season, died on Monday. He was 22 years old.
Jordan was a pitcher for the Wildcats baseball team and a forward for the basketball team, when last season it was short on scholarship players and needed frontcourt help.
"We are devastated to learn of Ben Jordan's tragic passing last night," Kentucky baseball coach Nick Mingione said Tuesday. "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."
Basketball coach John Calipari, who used Jordan in two games last season and praised him for his disposition in 2019, also offered up a statement on his passing.
"Our hearts are broken today. We learned early this morning that we have lost Ben Jordan," he said. "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."
An Olive Hill, Kentucky, product, Jordan joined the baseball program in 2018 and redshirted his first year recovering from Tommy John Surgery. He returned the following year from injury and made 10 total appearances in 2019.
Jordan played one career minute for the basketball team last season, serving primarily as a big-bodied frontcourt player who could push the team in practice.
"Ultimate team player," West Carter coach Jeremy Webb, Jordan's high school coach, told the Courier-Journal of him in 2019 upon learning he was joining the basketball team. "That's what that is. … That's something that we saw out of Ben the entire time I've known him. I've known Ben since he was a little fella, and throughout his whole life he's had a great, great work ethic but he's also been the great team player that he is right now."