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Terrence Clarke, Boston high school star who played at Kentucky, dies in car crash in Los Angeles

Terrence Clarke was a high school star in New England before going on to play at Kentucky.
Terrence Clarke was a high school star in New England before going on to play at Kentucky.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

LOS ANGELES — Terrence Clarke, a basketball star at Kentucky who had entered the NBA Draft, died in a car accident in Los Angeles Thursday afternoon, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

The 19-year-old, who was from Boston and played his high school career at prep powerhouse Brewster Academy, was driving solo on Winnetka Avenue southbound in Northridge at 2:10 Pacific Time, Los Angeles Police Department Sergeant John Matassa said Thursday night.

Clarke was crossing the intersection of Nordhoff Street at a high rate of speed when he ran through a red light, he said.

”There was a surveillance video on a residence nearby that captured the incident,” Matassa said. Clarke struck another vehicle that was making a left turn, continuing into a pole before finally crashing into a wall, Matassa said.

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Clarke was transported to Northridge Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, Matassa said. There were no other injuries as a result of the crash.

According to ESPN, Clarke’s mother was at his side when he died.

Clarke, a guard, entered the NBA Draft last month after just one season at Kentucky. On Wednesday he retained representation by Klutch Sports. Clarke only played eight games for Kentucky, sidelined most of the season because of an ankle injury. Despite his limited college experience, he was projected as a lottery pick. He averaged 9.6 points with the Wildcats.

Aldexter Foy, one of Clarke’s coaches at the Vine Street Community Center in Boston, met him when he was in the fifth grade, but quickly became a lifelong mentor and friend to him, he said.

Foy was with Clarke in LA, where he was working out for the NBA Draft, just before the accident, he said.

“We just left the gym; he had just left me,” Foy said Thursday night. “It is terrible.”

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The sky was the limit for Clarke, Foy said. He has been flooded with calls, texts and social media posts following the tragedy because “the kid was just loved by everyone,” he said.

Terrence Clarke played one season at Kentucky.
Terrence Clarke played one season at Kentucky.Mark Humphrey

“He had an unbelievable sports career, with good things ahead of him,” Foy said.

“He just filled the room up with joy. Everyone loved him — a really unbelievable kid. He was a five-star athlete and an unbelievable basketball player,” Foy said.

Kentucky coach John Calipari issued a statement through the university.

“I am absolutely gutted and sick tonight,” 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.

“Terrence’s teammates and brothers loved him and are absolutely devastated. They know we are here for them for whatever they need.

“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.”

Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul said in a statement to ESPN, “We are saddened and devastated by the tragic loss of Terrence Clarke. He 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.”

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The Celtics issued a statement after Thursday’s night game against the Phoenix Suns:

“Condolences to Terrence Clarke’s family. He had a bright future ahead but had already made a huge impact off the court in the City of Boston.”

Christopher Price of the Globe staff contributed to this report.