Living within driving distance of one another in Southern California, Kentucky guard signees Brandon Boston Jr. and Devin Askew decided that instead of working out individually this summer leading up to their moves to Lexington and the 2020-21 college basketball season, they would team up and develop early chemistry. The joint workouts began in early May, teaming up with ten-year NBA veteran Darren Collison.
Just days later, fellow Kentucky signee Terrence Clarke decided to join Boston and Askew, flying across the country from Boston to Los Angeles to turn the Wildcat duo into a trio.
“The conversation was kind of brought up when my season at Brewster (Academy) was finished,” Clarke told KSR. “Devin and BJ just told me that I could come out there and stay with them and work out with them. For me, those are my future teammates and I thought there would be no problem with it.”
The casual workouts quickly turned into an all-day, every-day event, allowing all three future Kentucky guards to learn each other’s games and personalities six full months before playing a game at UK.
With championship dreams in Lexington, they agreed it was important to get a leg up on the competition .
“Me, personally, I worked as hard as ever in Boston, but in LA we worked even harder,” Clarke added. “I feel like we worked out about four or five times a day, so I knew the situation would be great. I stayed with BJ for the time being. I stayed there for about a month, a month and a half probably. At the end of the day, we were just working.
“I knew that if I could get out there and work with my teammates we could build chemistry early. Our main goal is to win a championship, so obviously that was a great situation.”
The early work and chemistry building between Boston, Clarke and Askew had other Wildcat signees intrigued with the idea of joining the trio out in California, with several player parents telling KSR at the time that there were internal discussions about the group expanding.
With COVID-19 creating more questions than answers at the time, though, they ultimately decided to keep things as-is with the group of three.
“Obviously there is a situation with COVID-19 and stuff like that,” Clarke said. “The situation that was there, Cam(‘Ron Fletcher) and Isaiah (Jackson) would have definitely come out if it was possible for them. The situation limited that, but I feel like if we had the chance, we all would have been out there and working out and coming together. We all already had a group chat and everything where we were all talking amongst each other even before the season started. We were already excited. I wish that they were there.”
The full signing class wasn’t able to team up for the Southern California workouts, but the leg up on the competition the trio was looking for was still accomplished in a major way.
Boston, a consensus top-ten prospect, said he and Clarke clicked immediately, with their relationship growing ever since.
“You know, it was good, just getting early work in with my guys. I feel like that’s helped us a lot,” Boston said. “It was a good time getting work in, competing, getting better, and focusing on our craft. … The first day [Clarke] came out there, we just clicked, it’s like we’ve known each other for years. He’s just a fun, entertaining [person]. He loves to laugh, he loves to work hard, and those are the things I do. I feel like it’s going to help us in the season, having two guys with the same mindset. It was really good.”
As for Clarke, one of the main reasons he signed with Kentucky in the first place was because Boston was already locked in, wanting to create one of the best dynamic duos in all of college basketball as freshmen.
“Honestly, I think BJ is a great basketball player. I always thought so,” Clarke said. “One of the main things for me coming to Kentucky was BJ getting here too. Ever since we were at camps like NBPA and Elite 100, we talked about teaming up at schools. Here, being at Kentucky, time will tell. We’re going to do some damage, I feel like, but we don’t really want to talk too much.
“I think the main thing for us is playing as a team. Even though we’re on the wings and stuff like that, we have other great basketball players like Olivier Sarr and Isaiah Jackson and Devin Askew. The list goes on. I feel like me and BJ being on the wings has complemented everybody else on the team.”
The team as a whole comes first, but it helps when the two most talented players on the roster are on the same page. With the help of the early summer workouts, they’ve done that, and more.
“On and off the court, Terrence, that’s my dog. That’s my brother,” Boston said. “On the court, we always compete, we get after it, make each other better every day in practice. Off the court, we try to keep each other’s minds right, stay sane with COVID-19 and everything. We’ve got each other, we’re staying close and staying connected.
“We’ve got to take care of business.”