July 29 (UPI) -- The NBA briefly paused Thursday night's draft to honor late Kentucky Wildcats basketball player Terrence Clarke, who died in a car accident earlier this year.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver paused the annual selection show midway through the first round and invited Clarke's mother, sister and brother onto the stage at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The league then selected Clarke as an honorary draftee -- an honor he would have received had the April accident not taken place.
"He was so ready for it, so excited," Clarke's mother, Osmine, said after the selection was made. "It's all he talked about, just going to the draft, like, 'Mommy, am I ready for this? This is big.' And I'm like, 'Yes, Terrence, you wouldn't be in this position if you didn't, if people didn't think you were this good.'"
Clarke, who was a prep star in the Boston area before attending the University of Kentucky, averaged 9.6 points over eight games for the Wildcats last season. His season was cut short due to a right leg injury.
The 19-year-old Clarke was training in the Los Angeles area April 22 when, after driving home from a workout, he crashed and died.
"Thank you to Adam Silver, Mark Tatum and everyone in the @NBA office who gave Terrence's family and all of us who loved him a special moment tonight," Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari wrote on Twitter. "It shows the true heart of the league and I thank you all."