Kentucky head coach John Calipari wrote on Twitter, “I am absolutely gutted and sick tonight. I ask that everyone take a moment tonight to say a prayer for Terrence Clarke and his family. May he Rest In Peace.” Kentucky Basketball wrote, “We are devastated to learn of our own Terrence Clarke’s tragic passing. Our hearts are heavy for Terrence, his family and all of us who loved him.”
I am absolutely gutted and sick tonight. I ask that everyone take a moment tonight to say a prayer for Terrence Clarke and his family. May he Rest In Peace. https://t.co/a1E1gysxxi pic.twitter.com/1unTygk4Tt
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) April 23, 2021
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote, “Terrence Clarke, a Kentucky freshman guard headed for the NBA Draft, died following a car accident in the Los Angeles-area this afternoon, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul tells ESPN. Clarke’s mother was at his side when he passed on Thursday. He was 19 years old.”
NEW: Video obtained by @CBSLA shows the moments former @KentuckyMBB player Terrence Clarke slammed into a truck at the intersection of Nordhoff and Winnetka. @LAFD transported Clarke to the hospital but he did not survive his injuries. #CBSLA
— Mike Rogers (@MikeRogersTV) April 23, 2021
WKYT was the first to break the news of the 19-year-old’s death.
“WKYT has confirmed former UK men’s basketball player Terrence Clarke has died in Los Angeles,” the station reported on the evening of April 22, 2021. While the specific cause of death has not been made public, WKYT reported that he died in a car accident. According to WKYT, a Los Angeles police sergeant said the accident happened at 2:10 p.m. local time after Clarke, who police said was speeding, ran a red light, hitting another car and then a utility pole and wall.
CONFIRMED: Brandon Boston Jr. is OK. Sierra Canyon basketball assistant confirms Boston is OK.
Boston was reportedly driving behind Terrence Clarke when Clarke was involved in a deadly accident.
— Tarek Fattal (@Tarek_Fattal) April 23, 2021
Tributes poured in from people shocked by news of Clarke’s death. “What a roller coaster ride for UK athletics. On the biggest night in UK volleyball history news breaks of the passing of UK basketball player Terrence Clarke. Life is never promised,” wrote one fan on Twitter. Videos emerged of the crash scene.
Here’s what you need to know:
Clarke Died After Leaving a Workout, Reports Say
According to WKYT, Clarke and fellow basketball player BJ Boston had worked out together before the accident. He and Boston had both recently signed with Klutch Sports, the outlet reported.
Clarke “was not wearing his seatbelt properly,” police told WKYT, and was alone in the vehicle.
Boston was in a car behind him and was uninjured, according to Kentucky Sports Radio.
Clarke was pronounced dead at Northridge Hospital, WKYT reported.
Tarek Fattal of the LA Daily News wrote on Twitter, “CONFIRMED: Brandon Boston Jr. is OK. Sierra Canyon basketball assistant confirms Boston is OK. Boston was reportedly driving behind Terrence Clarke when Clarke was involved in a deadly accident.”
Clarke last tweeted on April 21.
— Terrence Clarke (@terrenceclarke_) April 21, 2021
“I chose Kentucky because of the legacy,” Clarke said when he signed with Kentucky, according to Kentucky Sports Radio. “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.”
Several people posted videos on social media that they claimed were of the crash scene. The videos showed a vehicle with heavy front-end damage.
“wtf I literally passed by the Terrence Clarke accident on my way home…” wrote one man who posted a video that he later deleted.
Brad Stevens Called Clarke ‘a Boston Kid’ Upon Hearing the News
Brad Stevens said he just heard the Terrence Clarke news and isn't up to talking about tonight's game. He noted that Clarke is a Boston kid and that his son looks up to Clarke.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) April 23, 2021
Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens “said he just heard the Terrence Clarke news and isn’t up to talking about tonight’s game. He noted that Clarke is a Boston kid and that his son looks up to Clarke,” according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports.
He cut a postgame press conference short.
#Celtics head coach Brad Stevens cuts his postgame press conference short after the team's win tonight after hearing the news about Terrence Clarke.
— Nick Coit (@NCoitABC6) April 23, 2021
Clarke declared for the 2021 draft in March, saying, “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. 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 a I pursue my dreams.” He had battled back from a leg injury.
Tributes Filled Social Media as News of Clarke’s Death Spread
I don’t know what to say right now. I never hoped in my wildest dreams this would happen. Terrence Clarke was a great basketball player that represented Boston like no other could. It’s gut wrenching seeing life be taken away from someone so young. Rest In Peace King🕊 pic.twitter.com/5pKahgVOZq
— Noah Terranova (@TerranovaNoah) April 23, 2021
Fans, friends, coaches and others filled social media with tributes to Clarke after news of the accident and later confirmation of his death began to spread.
“I don’t know what to say right now. I never hoped in my wildest dreams this would happen. Terrence Clarke was a great basketball player that represented Boston like no other could. It’s gut wrenching seeing life be taken away from someone so young. Rest In Peace King,” wrote basketball content creator Noah Terranova.
Remembering my friend Terrence, Boston’s prodigal son who was the joy of every room he was in.
Unlocked for free for all to read: https://t.co/46c76ARa0s
— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) April 23, 2021
“If everyone could take a minute and drop some prayers and positivity for Terrence Clarke. He was involved in a car accident today. He’s so close to achieving his dreams and changing his life. Let’s hope everything works out okay for him!” Sports Addicts Network tweeted.
“I’m lost for words. I don’t know what to say man. The news came as a shock to me. Terrence Clarke was 19 years old and was so close to his NBA dreams. To hear the news just now that he died in a car accident, it makes me sad. Life is too short,” tweeted WarriorsSZN.
The Athletic’s Jared Weiss wrote of Clarke, “We lost him in a car crash departing a workout in Los Angeles Thursday. We all lost him. The 19-year-old was going to be a part of your life if he wasn’t already. He was that fun to watch. That fun to know.”