2021 NBA Draft

NBA honors late Draft prospect Terrence Clarke

The former Kentucky guard, who died in a car accident while preparing for the NBA Draft, was ceremonially drafted.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver welcomes the family of late Kentucky guard Terrence Clarke onto the stage at the NBA Draft

It was the dream of Terrence Clarke, like most young men, to have his name announced on the night of the NBA draft, and his dream was a realistic one.

As a highly-regarded prep player from Boston, Clarke played the 2020-21 season at Kentucky, then announced he was turning professional after his freshman year and immediately began training for the next level.

Just months later, he was gone, a victim in a fatal single-passenger car accident in the Los Angeles area in April. It was a shock to everyone who knew him and those who followed him, including many in the NBA community.

As a heartfelt gesture by the NBA, Clarke’s name was mentioned anyway Thursday when the league took the step of “drafting” him in a ceremony midway through the first round, following the lottery picks.

“His extraordinary talent, dedication and commitment to the game deserve to be recognized,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. “He will forever be part of the NBA family.”

Clarke’s mother, Osmine Clarke, and family appeared at the Draft and walked on stage to meet Silver. They were feted in the name of the son and brother whose life was cut short at 19.

After leaving Kentucky, Clarke signed with Klutch Sports, the agency created by Rich Paul and LeBron James. He was a potential lottery pick who could’ve had the opportunity to elevate his draft stock higher in the combines and pre-Draft workouts.

He played only eight games with Kentucky because of an ankle injury, averaging 9.6 points, but many NBA scouts had him on their radar and projected him as a solid draft pick anyway. He starred at Brewster Academy, the same high school attended by Donovan Mitchell of the Jazz.

In a social media message after leaving Kentucky and before his death, Clarke wrote: “As an adolescent, having the privilege to put on the Kentucky uniform was always a lifelong goal of mine. 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.”