Pearl Washington lost his much publicized bout with brain cancer Wednesday morning. He was 52-years old.
Washington was considered the first big-time player to come to Jim Boeheim’s Orangemen. He quickly became one of the Big East’s most prolific court generals, leading the way for the Orange on the teams that were the precursor to the 1987 Derrick Coleman, Sherman Douglas, Rony Seikley- led NCAA Finals squad.
Here was one of Pearl’s legendary shots that put him on the map in 1984:
He would be the 1984 Big East Freshman of the Year, capture three All-Big East First Team honors, and win the MVP of the Big East Tourney in his final 1986 season. That’s lofty praise considering who was lurking in the Big East in the 80s.
The UTEP two-step. A.I.’s Killer Crossover. They all came after Pearl’s crossover move that often left some of the Big East’s biggest stars stunned and searching for him.
Pearl, like D.C. after him, was extra special to me on a personal level. I was both a die-hard Syracuse fan and an even crazier devout New Jersey Nets fan. The Nets would make Pearl their 13th overall pick in the 1986 draft (the Len Bias Draft). Pearl never panned out to become an NBA superstar, but he was a serviceable role player off the bench. His career came to an end after three quick seasons.
The great Pearl Washington has passed away. The entire Orange Nation mourns. https://t.co/RhsNsNjfDm
— Syracuse Basketball (@Cuse_MBB) April 20, 2016
Syracuse rallied this past year, trying to raise funds for their fallen legend. Their miraculous run to the Final Four was fueled on social media with #prayforpearl hashtags. You can bet he was in the hearts of every Orange on the court this past March.
Today, at the young age of 52, Dwayne Pearl Washington lost his fight. Syracuse lost one of their most beloved players and ambassadors of his sport. But he will forever live in the hearts of every Orange fan.
There was no better guy and there’s nobody who has meant more to our basketball program than Dwayne Washington.#CuseFamily
— Jim Boeheim (@therealboeheim) April 20, 2016