Kentucky Basketball: former Wildcat Terrence Clarke passes away at 19

UK guard Terrence Clarke
UK guard Terrence Clarke /

It’s with great sadness that I write to inform you of Terrence Clarke’s passing. The former Kentucky basketball guard passed away due to a car crash just outside of Los Angeles on Thursday. It’s also worth noting that former teammate B.J. Boston was driving behind Clarke when the wreck took place.

Clarke had just finished a workout with Boston. His mother and brother were in attendance as well. Clarke’s mom even did an Instagram live for a portion of the workout.

Boston and Clarke had just signed a deal with Klutch Sports on Wednesday and both were set to enter the 2021 NBA Draft.

Say it isn’t so Big Blue Nation didn’t want the news to be true

As word began to spread on social media of the accident and possible death it quickly grew to messages of sorrow and hope that it wasn’t true. That was until the news was confirmed.

In a statement to ESPN, the Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. John Matassa, who works in the Valley Traffic Division, told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that Clarke was a 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 Los Angeles at approximately 2:10 p.m. PT.

"“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. He was transported to Northridge Hospital and was later pronounced deceased as a result of the collision.”"

The University of Kentucky Athletic Department confirmed what everyone feared when Athletic Director Mitch Banhart broke the news.

Not long after it was followed by a statement from head coach John Calipari who was stunned by the news.

"“I am absolutely gutted and sick tonight. 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.”"

Calipari would continue to say, “Terrence’s teammates and brothers loved him and are absolutely devastated. They know we are here for them for whatever they need.”

He also said that he was flying to Los Angeles to be with Clarke’s mother and brother.

It didn’t take long for the current and former Kentucky players to react.

It was a season Clarke didn’t expect to unfold the way it did playing in just the first seven games before he was sidelined with an ankle injury that kept him off the court until the season finale against Mississippi State. He finished the year averaging 9.6 points.

Clarke was a projected lottery pick entering the season and despite not playing much of the season his NBA stock was still strong with high potential.

It’s times like these where Big Blue Nation and its love for each other and these players shine through. Continue to be positive and uplifting during this time.

Pray for Clarke and his family as they navigate this extraordinarily tough time. Also, pray for Boston. He saw a teammate and, more importantly, a friend pass today. That’s something no one should ever experience in their life, especially when you haven’t reached 20 years old. Boston’s life will forever be changed by what he witnessed himself.