Kentucky guard Terrence Clarke, who recently declared for the NBA draft, died Thursday night after a car accident in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. He was just 19 years old.
Clarke had just finished a workout with Wildcats teammate BJ Boston and, according to reports, was driving at high speed on Thursday afternoon when he crashed into another vehicle before hitting a street light pole and then a block wall. The driver of the other vehicle reported no injuries in the collision, Los Angeles police told ESPN.
Clarke was rushed to Northridge Hospital were he was pronounced dead.
Los Angeles Police Department Sergeant John Matassa told ESPN that Clarke was not wearing his seat belt properly.
Boston, who was traveling in a car behind Clarke, was uninjured.
The Klutch Sports agency had just announced on Wednesday that it had signed both Clarke and Boston.
“We are saddened and devastated by the tragic loss of Terrence Clarke,” Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul told ESPN in a statement. “Terrence was an incredible, hard-working young man. He was excited for what was ahead of him and ready to fulfill his dreams. Our prayers go out to Terrence and his family, who ask for privacy during this difficult time.”
Clarke’s mother was at his side when he died, Adrian Wojnarowski reported.
Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari issued a statement on his Twitter account Thursday night:
“We are stunned by this sudden, heartbreaking tragedy,” said Kentucky Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart in a statement posted to the university’s website. “Terrence was a young man who was so full of life and so full of promise. We hurt and grieve with his family, his friends, and his teammates and coaches, and our prayers are with all of them in this unimaginable loss.”
Clarke, who grew up in Boston, had worked out with Celtics stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown for the past couple years.
In December of 2019, Clarke said of their relationship:
“They kind of just influenced me to work hard every single day, especially on the off days, the days I come off of games, I talk to them every other day. They’re always working out, getting in the gym, preparing themselves for the extra games, stuff like that. Me being in the season, I work out with Jaylen, we work out, get shots in, 1-v-1s, stuff like that, just going at each other, make each other better. Jayson and Jaylen, those guys are big supporters for me.”
Tatum posted a tribute to Clarke on Instagram Thursday night.
Boston head coach Brad Stevens spoke about Clarke after the Celtics game Thursday night.
After battling through injuries during the 2020 season, Clarke was working his way back into shape and preparing for the NBA Draft, where he was viewed as a second-round prospect, despite only playing eight games at the collegiate level.