WOLFEBORO, N.H. (LEX 18) — The death of Terrence Clarke in southern California on Thursday had an impact from coast to coast. The loss was taken particularly hard in the New England area, where Clarke played high school basketball.
“I always tell people who asked about Terrence in the past, ‘yes he was a five-star recruit, but he was a 10-star person,” said Matt Lawlor.
Lawlor is the director of athletics at the Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, which boasts a long roster of college and NBA alumni including former Louisville and current Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell. But to Lawlor, Clarke was different.
“He was holding court making sure kids got their autographs (from him) because he knew they drove from Boston, or Portland, Maine, to see him play. He’s the first high school athlete I’ve seen give autographs on a regular basis,” Lawlor said.
Lawlor even joked that many of those post-game autograph and photo sessions prevented him from getting home at a decent hour following a game.
“I’m trying to clean up and get everyone out of there,” he said. “But it was important to Terrence that every kid got the autograph he was looking for from Terrence Clarke.”
As John Calipari likes to say of his players; they’re “built different.” Clarke certainly fit that bill.
“Whenever he walked into the Smith Center, our gym, his presence was felt not only because of his talent, but his personality and how engaging he was with everyone,” Lawlor explained.
Clarke averaged a shade under 10 points per game during his one and only season at Kentucky but played in only eight games due to injury. The team clearly missed his presence, finishing with a sub .500 record while missing the NCAA Tournament.
At the time of his death, Clarke had just signed a contract with an agent to pursue his dream of reaching the NBA.