By Jill Martin, CNN
(CNN) — Basketball player Terrence Clarke, who last month declared for the 2021 NBA draft after playing his freshman season for the University of Kentucky, died Thursday after sustaining fatal injuries in a car accident in Los Angeles, according to the Kentucky athletics department. He was 19 years old.
The accident occurred Thursday afternoon as Clarke’s vehicle collided with another that was making a left-hand turn, according to a statement from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LA Fire Department was first on the scene and Clarke was transported to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.
“I am absolutely gutted and sick tonight,” Kentucky men’s basketball head coach John Calipari said, according to a Kentucky 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.
“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.”
Clarke, who was born in Boston, was limited to eight games — seven in non-conference play and one in the Southeastern Conference tournament — in the 2020-2021 college basketball season due to a right leg injury. A guard, Clarke started six games and averaged 9.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.
“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,” Clarke said in a Kentucky press release March 19 when it was announced he was forgoing the remainder of his college eligibility. “Thank you to Coach Cal, the coaching staff and my teammates! BBN (Big Blue Nation), I hope to make you all proud as I pursue my dreams.”
It had been announced Wednesday that Clarke was signing with the agency Klutch Sports Group.
“We are saddened and devastated by the tragic loss of Terrence Clarke,” said Rich Paul, CEO and founder of Klutch Sports Group. “He 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.”
On Thursday, a post-game press conference for Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was cut short.
“To be honest, as I was walking down the hallway, I just heard this news about Terrence Clarke,” Stevens told reporters. “I’m not sure how much I want to talk about the game when you consider it, a Boston kid.”
Clarke is survived by his parents, Osmine Clarke and Adrian Briggs, and his three siblings: Tatyana Gray, Gavin Clarke and Madison Adrianne.
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