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The great Pearl Washington has passed away, Syracuse University has announced today. This is a very sad day for the Orange Nation, and that’s an understatement. Pearl battled a malignant brain tumor and, in the past couple weeks, word came that he’d taken a turn for the worst. And now, the great #31 has succumbed to his illness.

Pearl was 52 years old, and one of the men who put Syracuse University basketball on the national map. During his career at Syracuse, Pearl scored 1,490 points, averaging 15.7 points-per-game for his career. He was taken in the first round of the 1986 NBA Draft by the Nets with 13th pick in the first round. He spent three seasons in the NBA; two with the Nets, and one with the Miami Heat. Pearl scored 1,660 points in his three year career, averaging 8.6 points and 3.8 assists-per-game.

On a Mount Rushmore for Syracuse basketball, Pearl Washington has long since solidified his place as one of the all-time greatest players in Orange history, and one of the most exciting college basketball players of the past 35 years.

Rest in peace, Pearl.

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including Cracked.com, Spike.com, TheSportster.com, Gunaxin.com, and TopTenz.net, among others. His work was featured in the New York Times bestselling book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News. He's got a wife, and a toddler he's brainwashing to love Syracuse. Jeff's a pretty great guy, overall, and would never steal your car. Follow him on Twitter: @jekelish