Jodie Meeks earns degree from Kentucky

Lakers guard Jodie Meeks worked hard to maximize his opportunity to play more during the team’s injury-plagued season, and he plans to continue sharpening his skills during the summer. (File photo by Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

Lakers guard Jodie Meeks worked hard to maximize his opportunity to play more during the team’s injury-plagued season, and he plans to continue sharpening his skills during the summer. (File photo by Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

Jodie Meeks already proved this year with the Lakers that he remains valuable in the work force.

He recently took another step in that area, and it went beyond his work on the hardwood where he became one of the Lakers’ most consistent players with reliable outside shooting, improved finishing and endless hustling. Meeks also graduated from the University of Kentucky on Saturday after spending the past two summers finishing up coursework to receive a bachelor’s degree in business marketing. Meeks starred for three years at Kentucky before declaring himself eligible for the 2009 NBA draft where he was selected 41st overall by the Milwaukee Bucks.

“I told myself and my family that I’d go back,” Meeks told this newspaper earlier in the 2013-14 season. “I was so close. It’ll be nice to walk across that stage and get my degree.”

That moment happened Saturday after completing a marketing research class shortly after the 2013-14 season ended last month. Meeks spent last summer taking two marketing classes and a calculus course.

Meeks’ current dream entails re-signing with the Lakers this offseason to a long-term deal that will surpass the $1.55 million he made in his second seasons here. The Lakers would also like to keep Meeks after he finished this season with career-highs in points (15.7), field-goal percentage (46.3%), 3-point shooting (40.1%) and minutes played (33.2). But Meeks’ return partly hinges on how much more lucrative offers he attracts elsewhere and how the Lakers fill out the rest of their roster through the draft, potential trades and free agency.

Regardless, Meeks appears both on solid footing with both his future on the court and once his career ends. Does the six-year NBA veteran know what that might entail?

“I have no idea right now,” Meeks said. “I think marketing interests me because it’s what the NBA is. With basketball, there’s a lot of stuff with it. You can do sports marketing with a lot of things.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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