Syracuse University basketball legend Dwayne "Pearl" Washington has died at age 52.
The great Pearl Washington has passed away. The entire Orange Nation mourns. https://t.co/RhsNsNjfDm— Syracuse Basketball (@Cuse_MBB) April 20, 2016
Washington had been diagnosed with a brain tumor last summer, a relapse of the condition he initially battled in beginning in 1996. Washington had surgery last fall, according to the school, but was unable to overcome his illness. This season's Syracuse basketball team -- which made it to the Final Four -- honored Washington by wearing warm-up shirts with "Pearl" and "31" inscribed on them.
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Washington, a highly touted New York basketball recruit, was known for his combination of playmaking flair and scoring ability. He averaged 15.7 points and 6.6 assists during a Syracuse playing career that spanned from 1983-85 and -- along with players like Georgetown's Patrick Ewing and St. John's Chris Mullin -- lifted the Big East Conference to unprecedented prominence within the sport.
The New Jersey Nets made him the 13th overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft, but he played only three years in the NBA and never averaged more than the 22.2 minutes per game he played as a rookie.