As the late former Kentucky head football coach Jerry Claiborne used to always say, “That’s that old ‘iffin game.”
Woulda, coulda, shoulda—if only this had happened, or that had happened…Kentucky would probably be undefeated and on their way to a ninth national championship.
If only Cade Cunningham didn’t have a brother coaching at Oklahoma State.
If only Kenny Payne hadn’t left for the Knicks.
If only Ashton Hagans and EJ Montgomery hadn’t tried to go pro.
If only Johnny Juzang didn’t “get homesick.”
If only Olivier Sarr’s two mid-range, last-second jumpers had gone in.
If only Covid-19 didn’t exist.
You get the message. Here’s one more for you—if only Terrence Clarke hadn’t gotten hurt.
Together with Brandon Boston Jr., the 6-7, five-star guard was supposed to lead Kentucky to the Promised Land. Instead, with Boston struggling and Clarke sidelined with a mysterious ankle injury, the Wildcats (5 – 12) are on pace for the worst record in program history—ever. With the talent on this current team, that’s unfathomable.
Clarke played briefly at point guard earlier in the season, and with Kentucky’s documented struggles at the position throughout the year, fans were hoping his eventual return would be a catalyst to getting the team back into NCAA tournament contention.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t proven to be the case. A two-week injury has stretched into months, and BBN is wondering if they’ve seen the last of Terrence Clarke.
“That’s between God and the medical staff,” teammate Keion Brooks answered, when asked if and when we’ll see Terrence back out on the court. “I’m just praying that he has a speedy recovery. But also, I don’t want him to be rushed back where he could possibly injure himself more. I want him to get healthy, fully recover, and play when the time is right for him.”
Brooks should know. He suffered a frustrating leg injury earlier in the year that kept him sidelined for three months. Fans were wondering at the time if there was some sort of inner conspiracy keeping him from coming back. Those same theories are resurfacing with Clarke. Is this another Jarred Vanderbilt situation?
Here’s the advice Brooks had for his injured teammate.
“I’m just trying to put my hands around him, my arms around him, tell him I love him, and I understand what he is going through. I know he is chomping at the bit to get out here and play with us. I know it’s extremely difficult when you have a feeling of helplessness when you know you can’t go out there and impact the game or do some stuff to help your teammates out.”
I’m still holding out hope we’ll see Terrence out on the court this year. According to Coach John Calipari, however, that seems less and less likely. He implied that medically, all systems were go for Clarke to return. It was just a matter of Terrence being able to play through the pain.
Everyone was hoping for a triumphant return for Clarke against Tennessee. Instead, the fans at Rupp were treated to another late-game meltdown and another frustrating 82 – 71 defeat at the hands of the Big Orange. Once again, Clarke was missing in action.
Would Terrence Clarke have made a difference between winning and losing? If only we had a chance to see.