The basketball world lost one of its most promising young men on Thursday. Former Kentucky Wildcats guard, NBA prospect and Dorchester native Terrence Clarke died in an automobile accident in the Los Angeles Area.
He was 19 years old.
According to Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. John Matassa, via ESPN, Clarke’s 2021 Hyundai Genesis had bypassed a red light while traveling at a high rate of speed. In doing so, it collided with a truck. Matassa noted that Clarke had not been wearing his seat belt properly when the accident occurred.
“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,” Matassa said.
Clarke was later pronounced dead at Northridge Hospital as a result of injuries suffered in the crash. The driver of the truck reportedly did not claim any injuries.
In the wake of the tragic accident, people from around the basketball world and members of the Boston Celtics — Clarke’s hometown team — shared powerful messages of love and remembrance for the consensus five-star recruit and NBA hopeful.
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Tatum, Brown and Others Speak Out on Clarke
Celtics star Jayson Tatum updated his Instagram Story with a touching message upon learning of Clarke’s death.
“Tell your people you love them everyday!” he advised his followers. “Was so proud of you lil bro wish we talked more! This one hurts rest easy king never forgotten.”
Tatum also noted that he would be praying for Clarke’s family. Meanwhile, Boston’s other All-Star forward, Jaylen Brown, took to Instagram with a message of his own.
“Words can’t even explain fr,” he wrote. “What I hate the most the world didn’t even get to see how much potential you really had I hate you left with that on you.”
Brown also called upon the NBA to allow for Clarke’s name to be called on Draft Night. He and Tatum both shared photos of themselves with Clarke as well.
Other members of the Celtics shared their thoughts on the tragedy with the media after the team’s win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday. Among them were point guard Kemba Walker and head coach Brad Stevens.
“I did [know him], yes, yes, very well. Very well. Very, very, very tough. Very tough news, man,” Walker said, via CBS Boston. “He was a very good kid, you know? Just always smiling, always energetic. And he was about to get his opportunity, too. My condolences to his family. It’s a tough time, man. That’s really tough news to hear. I don’t know what else to say.”
“To be honest, I was walking down the hallway — I just heard this news about Terrence Clarke. Not sure how much I want to talk about the game when you consider a Boston kid,” he said. “Those kids are important to us here.”
Brown Had Been a Mentor to Clarke
As noted by The Boston Globe, Brown had taken Clarke under his wing after the young hoops star sent him a direct message on Instagram in 2019. The two subsequently worked out together at Boston-area rec centers on several occasions, doing drills and even playing one-on-one.
“It’s spectacular,” Clarke said at the time. “It’s a blessing for me. Ever since I was younger I looked up to NBA players, because I always wanted to be there. So just getting help mentally and physically from him, seeing stuff he’s done, it’s making me grow. I feel like I can make myself better because of him.”
Clarke was considered a lottery prospect before he enrolled at Kentucky. During his sole campaign in Lexington, he averaged 9.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per contest. He had just signed with Klutch Sports this week in preparation of the draft process.
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