Thursday night we received devastating news. Terrence Clarke passed away after a fatal car accident in Los Angeles. He was 19 years old.
Clarke’s mother was at his side in the hospital when he passed.
Clarke was from Boston and was proud of it. Clarke loved his city and wanted to be someone young people in Boston could look up to. “Boston is a great basketball city,” he said. “I really want to do this for myself, but I also want to do this for my community because [Boston] has never been on the map. Nobody would say, ‘Oh, basketball players come from Boston.’ I want to be the person to make that happen.”
Watching old battles between Boston legend Larry Bird and Magic Johnson with his grandfather is how Clarke discovered the game he loved. Growing up Clarke looked up to former Celtic point guard Rajon Rondo.
Clarke has had the spotlight on him for quite some time. He was considered one of the top players in his high school class, very early in his high school career. After Clarke’s freshman year of high school, he was ranked as the No. 2 player in the class of 2021 and decided to transfer to Brewster Academy, a prep basketball powerhouse.
Clarke was a phenom at Brewster. He became a consensus 5-star recruit. Clarke played in the McDonald’s All-American Game, the Allen Iverson Roundball Classic and the Jordan Brand Classic. He led Brewster academy to the 2019 National Prep Championships and led his team back to the event in 2020 before it was eventually cancelled due to the pandemic.
After a few years at Brewster, Clarke decided to reclassify to the class of 2020 and elevate to the college level. Clarke’s college decision came down to 6 schools; Kentucky, Duke, Memphis, Boston College, UCLA and Texas Tech. He decided to sign his letter of intent to play basketball with the University of Kentucky.
“I chose Kentucky because of the legacy,” Clarke said after signing 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.”
Clarke’s freshman year at Kentucky didn’t quite go as planned. He played only 8 games before an ankle injury ended much of his season. Clarke was able to play in Kentucky’s season finale in the SEC Tournament against Mississippi State.
“I am absolutely gutted and sick tonight,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said in a UK news release late Thursday night. “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.”
Clarke declared for the 2021 NBA Draft following his lone season at Kentucky.
Clarke’s dream was to play basketball at the highest level, in the NBA. He was well on his way to doing that. Since leaving Kentucky he has spent time training for the 2021 NBA Draft. The day before Clarke’s passing, he signed with Klutch Sports and agent Rich Paul.
“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.”
Clarke had become familiar with the Boston Celtics organization as many players and personnel took attention of Clarke being such a high-level player from Boston.
“Not sure how much I want to talk about the game, when you consider he’s a Boston kid … those kids are important to us here,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said after the Celtics game Thursday. “I never met him. My son looks up to him.
“Tell your people you love them everyday,” the Celtics Jayson Tatum posted on social media after hearing the news. “Was so proud of you lil’ bro. Wish we talked more! This one hurts. Rest easy King, never forgotten. Praying for the family.”
Messages were sent from all parts of the basketball world from Bronny James to NBA Stars like Tatum, CJ McCollum and LeBron James.
Clarke is survived by his parents, Osmine Clarke and Adrian Briggs, and three siblings, Tatyana, Gavin and Madison.
Our thoughts are with Terrence Clarke’s family and friends during this difficult time.