Terrence Clarke, who recently joined an elite list of University of Kentucky basketball stars who have left the blue-blooded program early to pursue dreams of playing in the N.B.A., was killed in a car accident on Thursday in Los Angeles, the university said. He was 19.
The crash took place shortly after 2 p.m. northwest of downtown when a vehicle turning onto Nordhoff Street was broadsided by another car that had been traveling on Winnetka Avenue and had run a red light, Officer William Cooper, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department, said Thursday night.
He said that the driver of the car that was broadsided, whom he could not identify, had later died from injuries sustained in the crash. Additional details on the accident were not immediately available.
“I am absolutely gutted and sick tonight,” John Calipari, the University of Kentucky head coach, said in a statement on 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.”
Calipari said he was traveling to Los Angeles to be with Clarke’s family and provide assistance.
“Terrence Clarke was a beautiful kid, someone who owned the room with his personality, smile and joy,” he said. “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.”
A shooting guard who last year was one of the top recruits in the nation, Clarke shined early in his freshman season for the Wildcats under Calipari but had been sidelined by injuries during Southeastern Conference play.
Last month, the Boston native decided to forgo his remaining eligibility and turn pro after the University of Kentucky missed the N.C.A.A. Tournament, an anomaly for the storied basketball program.