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Terrence Clarke, Former Kentucky Basketball Star, Dies in Car Crash at Age 19

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIIApril 23, 2021

Kentucky's Terrence Clarke plays against Mississippi State in an NCAA college basketball game in the Southeastern Conference Tournament Thursday, March 11, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Former Kentucky men's basketball star Terrence Clarke died following a car crash in Los Angeles on Thursday, his agent, Rich Paul, confirmed to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Clarke was 19 years old.ย 

"I am absolutely gutted and sick tonight," Kentucky head coach John Calipari said in a statement. "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."

The Boston native was reportedly working out in Southern California in preparation for the 2021 NBA draft prior to the crash. After one season with the Wildcats, Clarke announced he was turning pro and signing with an agent.ย 

News of Clarke's death was immediately felt across both college and pro basketball with many taking to Twitter to mourn the loss.

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A 6'7" guard who averaged 9.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists in eight games with Kentucky, Clarke was expected to play a significant role before an ankle injury ended his regular season in late December. He appeared in the team's SEC tournament loss to Mississippi State, playing 10 minutes in the second-round loss.

Regardless of the small sample size, scouts thought highly enough of his talents for the teenager to attempt a leap to the NBA.ย 

The Brewster Academy alum was a 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. The outlet's director of basketball scouting reported Clarke had lottery-pick potential and compared favorably to the Detroit Pistons' Josh Jackson.ย 

After being named a McDonald's All-American in high school, Clarke selected Kentucky over offers from Baylor, UConn, Illinois, Kansas, Louisville, Syracuse, UCLA, Duke, Michigan and Villanova.ย 

In announcing his decision to turn pro, Clarke said having the opportunity to play for the Wildcats was a "lifelong goal" and the experience was one he would keep with him forever.ย