Former University of Kentucky men's basketball player Terrence Clarke died in a car crash on Thursday in Los Angeles, the LAPD Valley Traffic Division has confirmed. He was 19 years old.
Clarke had just completed his freshman season at Kentucky and was likely to be selected in the 2021 NBA Draft later this year.
“I am absolutely gutted and sick tonight,” University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. “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."
The crash occurred at about 2:10 p.m. PT in Reseda, a Los Angeles neighborhood. Officials say Clarke was traveling at "high speed" and ran a red light while trying to turn right at an intersection. He hit a vehicle that was trying to make a left turn at the same intersection.
Clarke's car ran into a pole and then struck a wall. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Officials say there is no reason to believe Clarke was under the influence at the time of the accident.
At the time of the crash, Clarke was being followed in another vehicle by his trainer.
“We are stunned by this sudden, heartbreaking tragedy,” Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart said. “Terrence was a young man who was so full of life and so full of promise. We hurt and grieve with his family, his friends, and his teammates and coaches, and our prayers are with all of them in this unimaginable loss.”
Clarke's lone season at Kentucky was limited due to a right leg injury. He played in just eight games, averaging 9.6 points per game, 2.6 rebounds per game and 2.0 steals per game. A New England native, Clarke was a consensus five-star recruit out of Brewster Academy in New Hampshire.
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.https://t.co/u81DDOszPa— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) April 23, 2021
This story was originally published by Scripps station WLEX in Lexington, Kentucky.