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Ben Jordan, a University of Kentucky baseball player who also walked on to the basketball team, died Monday at the age of 22, the school announced.
No cause of death was provided.
The 6-foot-9, 250-pound redshirt junior was a right-handed pitcher for the Wildcats and joined the powerhouse basketball program last season when it faced a shortage of players.
“Our hearts are broken today,” Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari said Tuesday in a school-issued statement. “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.”
Jordan appeared in two basketball games last season and was credited, through his work in practice, with helping Nick Richards develop into a a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection and second-round pick of the Charlotte Hornets in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Jordan chose not to play basketball this season so that he could focus on baseball, according to ESPN.
The Olive Hill, Kentucky native did not pitch last spring because he was still with the basketball team when the baseball season was cut short due to the pandemic.
In 2019, Jordan appeared in 8 ²/₃ innings over 10 games. He had a 7.27 ERA and eight strikeouts.
He redshirted his freshman season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
“There are no words to express the shock and heartache our team is feeling with the loss of Ben,” baseball head coach Nick Mingione said. “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.”