Terrence Clarke, a freshman for the Kentucky Wildcats this past season who was entering the 2021 NBA Draft, passed in a fatal car accident on Thursday in Los Angeles. He was 19 years old.
Clarke had been considered a rising star in the basketball world since being touted as one of the top players in his class from early in his high school career. A native of Boston from the Roxbury neighborhood, Clarke discovered the game through watching old games of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson with the grandfather. He grew up idolizing Rajon Rondo, and quickly became a standout player in his own right when he reached Rivers School in Weston. After his freshman year, Clarke was ranked as the No. 2 player in the class of 2021 and decided to transfer to prep powerhouse Brewster Academy.
Clarke would eventually jump to the class of 2020 and commit to Kentucky over offers from Duke and others. After he committed, Kentucky was widely considered to have the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. We had Clarke projected as the No. 24 pick in our first 2021 mock draft the day after the 2020 draft.
Clarke had a trying freshman season in Lexington. He played only eight games before an ankle injury essentially ended his season. He did return to the lineup to play Kentucky’s last game of the year, getting 10 minutes in the Wildcats’ SEC tournament loss to Mississippi State.
Clarke turned pro and signed with Klutch Sports to represent him one day before his passing. Here’s a statement from the agency:
Here’s a statement from Kentucky head coach John Calipari:
The basketball world mourned Clarke’s death throughout the night on Thursday, from high school players like Emoni Bates and Bronny James to established NBA stars:
Rest In Peace Terrance Clarke. I remember hoopin with him in the city when he was still in high school. He was destined for the league. Prayers up to him and his family gone way too soon.
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) April 23, 2021
Devastated R.I.P T Clarke. Praying for his loved ones
— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) April 23, 2021
Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens also talked about Clarke before his team’s game:
Condolences to Terrence Clarke’s family. He had a bright future ahead but had already made a huge impact off the court in the City of Boston.
RIP TC pic.twitter.com/xsfL1KZg7n
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 23, 2021
“Boston is a great basketball city,” he said. “I really want to do this for myself, but I also want to do this for my community because [Boston] has never been on the map. Nobody would say, ‘Oh, [top] basketball players come from Boston.’ I want to be the person to make that happen.”
“Off the top of my head, certainly in the last 5-10 years, I don’t think there’s any question that he’s the best prospect from Boston,” recruiting analyst Eric Bossi told Boston.com in 2019.
Our thoughts are with Clarke’s family during this difficult time. May he rest in peace.