Police: Former Kentucky basketball player Terrence Clarke dies in LA car accident

LOS ANGELES — Terrence Clarke, a former guard for the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team, died in an automobile accident, police said. The Boston native was 19.

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The university also confirmed Clarke’s death on its website.

According to Los Angeles Police Department Valley District spokesperson Sgt. John Matassa, the crash occurred at 2:10 PDT, WDKY reported. Investigators said Clarke ran a red light at a high rate of speed at an intersection and hit a car that was turning left, the television station reported. Investigators said Clarke was not wearing his seat belt properly -- it was across his lap but not his shoulders, WDKY reported.

“The incident was captured on surveillance video. He collided with another vehicle that was preparing to make a left-hand turn,” Matassa told ESPN. “He struck the vehicle, hit a street light pole and ultimately hit a block wall,” Matassa said. “He was transported to Northridge Hospital and was later pronounced deceased as a result of the collision.”

Clarke’s death was first reported by WKYT. Police told the television station that Clarke was the only person in a 2021 Hyundai Genesis.

Matassa said the driver of the other vehicle, who was in a truck, was not injured, ESPN reported.

Clarke, a 6-foot-7 guard, declared for the 2021 NBA draft after his freshman season, according to the Kentucky basketball media guide.

Clarke, who grew up in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, played for Brewster Academy, according to the UK media guide. Clarke was rated the No. 4 overall player and No. 1 shooting guard, according to the 24/7 Sports composite score, WLEX reported. He was a member of the Brewster Academy team that won the 2019 national prep championships and led his team back to the 2020 finals with a 34-3 record before the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the event, according to the UK media guide.

“I am absolutely gutted and sick tonight,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said in a statement posted on the Kentucky athletics website. “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.”

Calipari added that he was traveling to Los Angeles to be with Clarke’s mother and brother “to help wherever I can.”“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.”

At Kentucky, Clarke was limited to eight games during the 2020-2021 season because of a leg injury, WKYT reported. He played seven nonconference games and made one appearance in the SEC Tournament. He averaged 9.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.

“We are stunned by this sudden, heartbreaking tragedy,” Mitch Bambert, the university’s director of athletics, said in a statement. “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 had recently signed with Klutch Sports as he prepared for the NBA draft. Clarke was working out with former Kentucky teammate BJ Boston, who also signed with Klutch, before the crash, WKYT reported.

“We are saddened and devastated by the tragic loss of Terrence Clarke,” Klutch Sports CEO Rich 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.”