Home » Posts tagged 上海夜网OJ

Jim Boeheim pays emotional tribute to late Syracuse great Pearl Washington

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ At first it seemed like Jim Boeheim was just laboring through another cough, pausing in between words with a closed fist to his mouth while getting choked up. But then a tear snaked down the 71-year-old’s cheek. And then another. Then a sniffle, wince and struggle to find words that would do justice. This was real, raw emotion. This was a coach who had just lost one of his most beloved players.Dwayne “Pearl” Washington, considered one of the greatest players and people in Syracuse basketball history, died Wednesday morning at 52 after a battle with brain cancer. Washington’s passing became inevitable, but that never made it easier to stomach. The head coach recalled the first time he saw Washington play. He reminisced over what Washington meant to him, the SU program and college basketball. Boeheim used words he never does: unique, legend. After all, those were words only fit to describe Pearl Washington.“I think people know the legend,” Boeheim said. “There aren’t really many legends.”Boeheim was in his late 30s and recalled watching in awe inside a Brooklyn, New York gym while a sophomore plastered 46 points on senior-heavy competition in the Wheelchair Classic. Boeheim arrived at the gym at 7 p.m. for a game that would start two hours later, but the gym had been filled at 4 p.m. When Washington came onto the court, his hometown crowd was “electric.”It was one of the first eye-opening performances in a career full of them. The flashy point guard moved from shocking high school crowds to captivating the Carrier Dome and taking hold of the Big East. He made the old Big East the old Big East, Boeheim said, and the Carrier Dome filled to the gills just to see Washington work his artistry.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“He was the most exciting player I’ve ever seen play the game of basketball,” Boeheim said. “I still think that today.”In his three years at Syracuse, Washington averaged a combined 15.7 points per game and shot almost 53 percent from the field. He lived up to his McDonald’s All-American billing and then some, and was later selected with the 13th overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft.Washington not only helped make a name for himself at Syracuse, but he put Boeheim on the map, too. On recruiting trips to California, Boeheim became “Pearl Washington’s coach” once the Brooklyn native came to SU after a time when Boeheim went unnoticed a country’s length away.Today, Boeheim stays up past 10:30 p.m. with his two teenage sons to watch the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry because he’s more than just a basketball player. That was Pearl Washington, the only player Boeheim watched individually instead of watching the game itself.“He’s just unique really,” Boeheim said. “It’s a word I don’t use, don’t like to use.”As his health declined this season, Washington’s future became more precarious. At the same time, his presence grew around the program, university and country as the Orange advanced in the postseason. “Pearl” shirts spread from team warmups to students across campus to national television.Some players ditched the NCAA-mandated white warmup shirts to don the orange “Pearl” shirts in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Nobody talked about doing that. Boeheim didn’t even know where the shirts came from. It just happened.“I never told them to wear them. They just wore them,” Boeheim said. “They kept wearing them.”The last time Boeheim spoke with Washington was over the phone after the Orange’s miraculous come-from-behind win against Virginia in the Elite Eight. Washington couldn’t muster much, Boeheim said, but he was excited that the team had made the Final Four. He was excited that the players were wearing shirts with his name on them. Even in his final weeks, he brought excitement. Anything else would be unfitting.As Boeheim finally ran out of words, out of tears, out of fruitless attempts to wipe his eyes dry and clear his nose to fully articulate what Washington meant, he shrugged his right shoulder as if to say he had nothing left.“He’s one of a kind,” Boeheim said, followed by one final look down. “We’re fortunate that we had him here.” Comments Published on April 20, 2016 at 5:04 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidmanlast_img read more

Continue reading