Former University of Kentucky Basketball Player Terrence Clarke Killed in Car Accident at 19

Just one day before the accident, Clarke and his teammate BJ Boston had signed to Klutch Sports agency agency in preparation for entering the NBA draft

terrence clarke
Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Former University of Kentucky men's basketball player Terrence Clarke reportedly died in a car accident in Los Angeles on Thursday. He was 19.

The university athletics department confirmed the news in a statement Thursday evening, writing that the team is "absolutely devastated" by the news.

"I am absolutely gutted and sick tonight," Kentucky head coach John Calipari said in a statement. "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."

He continued, "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 is traveling to Los Angeles to be with Clarke's family during this time.

"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," he said.

Clarke was the only person in the car Thursday afternoon when he he ran a red light, hit another car turning left, and then hit a pole and block wall, police told WKYT.

Clarke was not properly wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident, WKYT reports. The basketball player was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Los Angeles Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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Just one day before the accident, Clarke and his teammate BJ Boston had signed to Klutch Sports agency. Last month, the players announced they would be entering the NBA draft.

"We are saddened and devastated by the tragic loss of Terrence Clarke," Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul told ESPN 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 joined the University of Kentucky from Boston last season as a top prospect out of his 2020 high school class, the university said.

During a news conference Thursday, Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said he had just heard the reports and declined to talk about his team's game, out of respect for Clarke and his family.

"To be honest, I was just walking down the hallway and I heard the news about Terrence Clarke. Not sure how much I'd want to talk about the game," he said, adding: "Those kids are important to us here. I've never met him, [but] my son looks up to him."

During his only season with the Kentucky wildcats, he only played eight games before being sidelined due to an ankle injury until the team's last game against Mississippi State.

"As an adolescent, having the privilege to put on the Kentucky uniform and play in front of the BBN was always a lifelong goal of mine," Clarke wrote in a statement on social media last month. "Although it was hindered due to things out of my own control, the experience is something I will keep with me forever. I have grown a lot with this experience and I will never take it for granted."

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