It is with a heavy heat that we pass along the following news. WKYT is reporting that former Wildcat Terrence Clarke passed away after a car accident this afternoon in California. He was on the way home from a workout with former teammate BJ Boston, who was in the car behind him. Clarke was only 19 years old.
Clarke signed with Klutch Sports on Wednesday. His agent, Rich Paul, confirmed the news to ESPN.
“We are saddened and devastated by the tragic loss of Terrence Clarke,” 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.”
The Massachusetts native committed to Kentucky back on September 14, 2019 after a prolific career at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. He was a consensus five-star recruit and ranked as high as No. 8 in the final Rivals’ rankings, making the McDonald’s All American Game, the Allen Iverson Roundball Classic and the Jordan Brand Classic. He was named 2020 England Preparatory School Athletic Council AAA Player of the Year and led Brewster Academy to the 2019 National Prep Championships and had his team back in the 2020 finals before the remainder of the event was canceled due to the pandemic. He chose the Cats over Duke, Memphis, Boston College, UCLA, and Texas Tech.
“I chose Kentucky because of the legacy,” Clarke said when he signed with Kentucky. “I want to be a part of this history and leave my mark on a program that has helped other players reach their full potential in college and maximize their time at Kentucky. Looking back at players like Devin Booker, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jamal Murray, Tyler Herro and even more, their next step was not certain until they put in the work at Kentucky and made it happen on the big stage. That’s a challenge I want to take on and work for to be the best me next year.”
#BBN: Here's why Terrence Clarke picked Kentucky over Duke. 🔵
— SLAM HS Hoops (@SLAM_HS) November 8, 2019
Due to a right leg injury, Clarke played in only eight games at Kentucky, making six starts and averaging 9.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. He declared for the NBA Draft last month, foregoing his eligibility. He signed with Klutch Sports only yesterday.
“As an adolescent, having the privilege to put on the Kentucky uniform and play in front of the BBN was always a lifelong goal of mine,” Clarke said when he declared for the Draft. “Although it was hindered due to things out of my own control, the experience is something I will keep with me forever. I have grown a lot with this experience and I will never take it for granted. After discussing it with my family, I have decided to renounce my eligibility and declare for the NBA Draft. I had high expectations coming into this season and, of course, didn’t expect to be injured, which I understand is part of the game. Thank you to Coach Cal, the coaching staff and my teammates! BBN, I hope to make you all proud as I pursue my dreams.”
Prior to his injury, Clarke was one of Kentucky’s biggest weapons, scoring in double figures in four of his first five games. In his college debut, he had 12 points, four assists and three steals in Kentucky’s rout of Morehead State. His best performance came against Georgia Tech, in which he finished with 22 points and three assists, going 9-14 from the floor with three 3-pointers. Although recruited as a shooting guard, he shared point guard duties with Devin Askew and Davion Mintz, giving the Cats the ability to attack the rim they so desperately needed. He scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds vs. Richmond and posted 14 points with three assists vs. Notre Dame.
After suffering his leg injury vs. North Carolina, Clarke played through the pain vs. Louisville before being sidelined for the conference season. Even while out, he was the consummate teammate, offering his peers encouragement on the sidelines as he worked towards recovery. Once cleared for action two months later, he returned in the Kentucky’s lone SEC Tournament game, finishing with two points and three assists in nine minutes in the loss to Mississippi State.
“The great thing for us and for him, one, he’s the first one on the floor, first one on the bus. He wants to do this for the team,” Calipari said ahead of Clarke’s return. “He understands that he may not play a game. Maybe he does, but maybe he doesn’t. He wants to do it for the team…It’s all about team for him. He said, “Whatever this team needs from me, I’m here. If I don’t play, I’m fine. If you want to put me in, fine, I’m ready to go.”
Our hearts break for Terrence Clarke’s family, friends, and the Kentucky Basketball program. Please keep in them in your thoughts and prayers tonight.