Lakers guard Jodie Meeks will graduate from the University of Kentucky on Saturday, five years after leaving the Wildcats for the NBA.
"It feels good," Meeks said at a news conference in Kentucky on Thursday. "It's gratifying to myself and my family to see me walk across that stage."
Meeks spent three years at Kentucky before leaving for the NBA in 2009, drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 41st overall pick.
Every off-season Meeks attended classes at Kentucky, dedicated to completing his degree in business marketing. He'll finally walk with fellow graduates on Saturday night.
"You never know how long your career will last," said Meeks. "Once you have a degree, you have it forever."
Wildcats Coach John Calipari lauded Meeks in a tweet. "Congratulations to @Jmeeks20 and all the 2014 graduates. Jodie has proved you can chase your dreams AND get a degree," Calipari wrote.
Meeks will become a free agent in July after earning a total of $3.15 million over two years with the Lakers.
While the Lakers hope to re-sign Meeks, his career-high average of 15.7 points a game this season may spark other teams to recruit the 6-foot-4 shooter.