Kentucky took many losses this season, ending with a record that could not get them to the NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis. But, the saying “it’s more than a game” has come to life for the Kentucky Wildcats this season. More than just downhearted feelings about titles and legacy, there was personal loss.
In January 2021, the team experienced the loss of walk-on Ben Jordan. Teammate, Riley Welch, put out in an Instagram post, “I wish you could hear all the good things people have said about you and how much everyone loves you. Going to always remember the good times we shared”. The Kentucky Wildcats, the morning of the announcement of his death, wore warmups with his number, 33, on them. Jordan also wore the number 3 on the Wildcats baseball team as a pitcher.
After not making the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats lost multiple players to the NBA draft and from entering the transfer portal. Two of the players that entered their name into the NBA draft were Brandon Boston Jr. and Terrence Clarke. After both signing with Klutch Sports in April for an agent, Boston and Clarke were working out together in Los Angeles when on the way home from their session, Clarke got in a horrible car accident right in front of Boston. Clarke and Boston were hospitalized and Clarke later passed away in the hospital. Teammate Keion Brooks Jr. says in an Instagram post, “The love and energy [Terrence] brought into the world was unmatched… All you wanted to do was have fun and hoop. God’s most glorious soldier, love you brother”.
Both the losses of Jordan and Clarke were incredibly unexpected. Coach John Calipari said in both University statements, “It is difficult for me to express and to put into words what a tragedy it is to lose a young person (Ben Jordan) too early,” and “A young person who we all love (Terrence Clarke) has just lost his life too soon, one with all of his dreams and hopes ahead of him”.
Fans also expressed sadness in the passing of both Wildcats. A comment under one of Jordan’s Instagram posts before his passing says, “Rest easy, peacefully, and happy, Ben. You will be missed”.The night after Jordan’s death, Kentucky fans took it upon themselves to use the hashtag, #WinForBen, because of the game that the team was playing after the announcement of Jordan’s death. Also under the Kentucky Men’s Basketball Instagram announcement of Clarke’s death, one comment says, “[Big Blue Nation] loves [Terrence], we all love you… it’s a wound that will never heal. Still sick to my stomach #5”. Some fans have been posting under the hashtag, #LLTC5 (Long Live Terrence Clarke #5).