Terrence Clarke, who recently joined an elite list of University of Kentucky basketball stars who left the blue-blooded program early to pursue dreams of playing in the NBA, was killed in a car accident in Los Angeles on Thursday, the university said With. He was 19 years old.
The crash occurred just after 2 p.m. northwest of downtown when a vehicle driving on Winnetka Avenue wrecked a car on Nordhoff Street, Officer William Cooper, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department, said Thursday night.
He said the driver of the car that crashed into the turning vehicle and which he could not identify later died from injuries sustained in the accident. Earlier on Thursday evening, the spokesman said the driver of the car that was later on the broadside had died. Additional details about the accident were not immediately available.
“I’m absolutely disappointed and sick tonight,” said John Calipari, the head coach of the University of Kentucky, in a statement Thursday night. “A young person whom we all love simply lost his life too soon, one with all his dreams and hopes ahead of him.”
Calipari said he traveled to Los Angeles to be with Clarke’s family and to provide assistance.
“Terrence Clarke was a beautiful kid, someone who owned the room with his personality, smile and joy,” he said. “People were interested in him, and hearing that we lost him is hard for all of us to understand right now. We are all in shock. “
Clarke, a rifle guard who was among the nation’s top recruits last year, shone at the start of his first season for the Wildcats under Calipari but was sidelined during the Southeastern Conference game due to injuries.
Last month, the Boston native decided to forego his remaining eligibility and turn pro after the University of Kentucky missed the NCAA tournament, an anomaly for the famous basketball program.
Clarke’s death came a day after he and his Wildcats teammate, Brandon Boston Jr., signed with the Klutch Sports GroupLed by Rich Paul, the influential sports agent who represents LeBron James and a number of marquee players.
“He was an amazing, hard-working young man,” Paul said in a statement Thursday night about Clarke. “He was excited for what was ahead and ready to fulfill his dreams.”
Tributes to Clarke flooded social media Thursday night as news of his death spread, including from Lakers star James, who posted a photo of Clarke on Instagram.
“CALM IN PARADISE NEPHEW !!!” James wrote.
Kemba Walker, the star of the Boston Celtics, was speechless when asked Clarke’s death during a post game press conference.
“Very difficult news,” said Walker. “He’s a very good kid, he’s always smiling and always full of energy. He wanted his opportunity too. “
Clarke was one of the nation’s top rated marksmen and played for Brewster Academy, a boarding school in New Hampshire. He chose the University of Kentucky over Texas Tech, UCLA, Duke, the University of Memphis, and Boston College Biography on the Wildcats website.
He was handicapped by a right leg injury, which limited him to just eight games as a freshman.
Clarke is survived by his parents and three siblings, according to the University of Kentucky.
“Terrence was a young man who was so full of life and full of promise,” said Mitch Barnhart, the university’s sports director, in a statement. “We hurt and grieve with his family, friends, teammates and coaches, and our prayers go with everyone in this unimaginable loss.”