Former University of Kentucky men’s basketball player Terrence Clarke died in a car crash in the Los Angeles area Thursday afternoon, April 22, multiple sources reported. The Boston native was 19 years old.
Sgt. John Matassa of the Los Angeles Police Department told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that the NBA draft prospect was the solo occupant in a vehicle that ran a red light going “at a very high rate of speed” in the San Fernando Valley area of L.A. approximately at 2:10 p.m.
“The incident was captured on surveillance video. He collided with another vehicle that was preparing to make a left-hand turn. He struck the vehicle, hit a street light pole and ultimately hit a block wall,” Matassa revealed. “He was transported to Northridge Hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries.” His mother was by his side when he passed, reported ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The officer also explained that Clarke was driving a 2021 Hyundai Genesis and was not wearing his seat belt properly at the time of the incident. The driver of the other vehicle, who was in a truck, did not claim any injuries.
Kentucky men’s basketball head coach John Calipari said he was “absolutely gutted” in a press release. “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,” he continued.
“Terrence’s teammates and brothers loved him and are absolutely devastated. They know we are here for them for whatever they need. I am on my way to Los Angeles to be with his mother and his brother to help wherever I can. This will be a difficult period for all those who know and love Terrence, and I would ask that everyone take a moment tonight to say a prayer for Terrence and his family. May he rest in peace.”
Tributes have already begun to pour in on social media from fans of the guard and former Kentucky players in the NBA, including Karl-Anthony Towns who wrote on Twitter, “Today is a rough day for our Kentucky Family…RIP Terrence Clarke 🙏🏾.”
The Philadelphia 76ers’ Tyrese Maxey commented, “My heart is extremely heavy right now! 🥺” He added, “HUG YOUR LOVED ONES! Prayers up to my man Terrence Clarke’s Family!❤️ MUCH LOVE BRO!”
Clarke announced last month that he was entering this year’s NBA draft and he had signed with Klutch Sports. He was a projected lottery pick entering the season and was listed at No. 72 in the most recent version of ESPN’s top 100 best available prospects for the draft after an injury-plagued freshman season.
“We are saddened and devastated by the tragic loss of Terrence Clarke,” Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul said 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 surviving family includes his parents Osmine Clarke and Adrian Briggs, and siblings Tatyana Gray, Gavin Clarke and Madison Adrianne.