NBA honors Terrence Clarke, draft prospect who died in April

NBA

A tribute to former Kentucky guard Terrence Clarke is presented on screens during the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in New York. Clarke died in a car accident in April. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

NEW YORK (AP) — Terrence Clarke, the former Kentucky guard who died in a car accident while preparing for the NBA draft, was recognized Thursday in a ceremony midway through the first round.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver introduced Clarke’s mother, brother and sister.

“It is my honor to now announce that with the next pick in the 2021 NBA draft, the NBA selects Terrence Clarke from the University of Kentucky,” Silver said as Clarke’s family members went up to the stage and put on NBA hats.

Silver embraced each of Clarke’s family members as the crowd chanted “Terrence! Terrence!”

“He was so ready for (the draft), so excited,” Clarke’s mother, Osmine Clarke, said in a videotaped interview on the ESPN draft telecast following the ceremony. “That was all he talked about, just going to the draft. ‘Mommy, am I ready for this? This is big.’ I’m like, ’Yes, Terrence. You wouldn’t have been in this position if people didn’t think you were this good.”

Clarke had declared for the draft after playing one season at Kentucky. He died April 22 at the age of 19 following a car accident in Los Angeles.

“Terrence Clarke was a beautiful kid, someone who owned the room with his personality, smile and joy,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said in a statement after Clarke’s death.

Clarke played just eight games for Kentucky due to a leg injury but had been expected to get drafted. He made six starts for Kentucky and averaged 9.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2 assists.

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