The NBA honored former Kentucky guard Terrence Clarke with an honorary pick in the first round of Thursday’s NBA draft.
Clarke died in a car accident on April 22 in Los Angeles, where he was preparing for the draft. Clarke’s mother, sister and brother were on hand in New York as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Clarke as an honorary pick between the 14th and 15th selections in the draft.
“His extraordinary talent, commitment and dedication to the game deserve to be recognized on this stage,” Silver said.
The Boston native declared for the NBA draft in March after playing in just eight games for Kentucky last season due to an ankle injury. A former consensus top-10 ranked recruit, Clarke averaged 9.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and two assists per game while starting six of eight games for Kentucky. He was projected as a likely second-round pick.
“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’s freshman season was derailed by an ankle injury that sidelined him in December. He missed the entire regular-season portion of the Southeastern Conference schedule but returned to play nine minutes off the bench in Kentucky’s SEC tournament loss to Mississippi State, which ended up being the final game of a disappointing 9-16 season.
Contributing: Associated Press
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: NBA draft: Terrence Clarke with honored with special selection