BEVERLY HILLS, April 23, (THEWILL) – former Kentucky men’s basketball star, Terrence Clarke, had died following a car crash in Los Angeles on Thursday.
The player’s agent, Rich Paul, confirmed the unfortunate incident to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Clarke was 19 years old.
In a sober reaction, Kentucky head coach John Calipari said in a statement: “I am absolutely gutted and sick tonight. A young person who we all love has just lost his life too soon, one with all of his dreams and hopes ahead of him.
“Terrence Clarke was a beautiful kid, someone who owned the room with his personality, smile and joy. People gravitated to him, and to hear we have lost him is just hard for all of us to comprehend right now. We are all in shock.”
Clarke, who was a Boston native, was reportedly working out in Southern California in preparation for the 2021 NBA draft prior to the crash that took his life. After one season with the Wildcats, Clarke announced he was turning pro, signing with an agent and looking forward to life in the NBA.
As the news of his death broke, the impact was immediately felt across both college and pro basketball. Many took to their Twitter accounts to mourn the loss.
Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) posted: “RIP LIL BRO️ Cade Cunningham”
@CadeCunningham_ was still in shock: “Nahhh it’s no way bro”
JJJ (@jarenjacksonjr) prayed: “Rest In Peace Terrence Clarke. Keep the Clarke family in your prayers 🏾”
Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) shared the words of Orlando Magic’s centre Mohamed Fakaba “Mo” Bamba, who was measured in his words but had more to say: “I just want to say my condolences to the Clarke family. I found out midgame that Terrence Clarke, who was a promising young man, promising young athlete who, quite frankly, would have been in this league next year, he died.
“My heart is heavy for his people. I want everybody to put them in their thoughts and prayers.”
Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) posted: “Rest Easy Terrence Clarke🏽”
Clarke was 6’7″ and played as guard with Kentucky, averaging 9.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists in eight games. Then, he suffered an ankle injury that ended his regular season in late December. Clarke appeared in Kentucky’s SEC tournament second-round loss to Mississippi State, playing for just 10 minutes.
Scouts thought highly enough of Clarke’s gifts to consider the teenager for an attempt at a leap to the NBA. Towards that goal, the Brewster Academy alum was ranked a five-star recruit by 247Sports, which named him the No. 8 player overall in the class of 2020 and the No. 2 shooting guard in the nation.
Matter-of-factly, the outlet’s director of basketball scouting reported Clarke had lottery-pick potential and compared favorably to the Detroit Pistons’ Josh Jackson ahead of the next draft.
Clarke had selected Kentucky over offers from Baylor, UConn, Illinois, Kansas, Louisville, Syracuse, UCLA, Duke, Michigan and Villanova, after being named a McDonald’s All-American in high school.
When he decided to turn pro, he dreamed of an opportunity to play for the Wildcats, which he said was a “lifelong goal” and the experience was one he would keep with him forever.