One of the most important players in Syracuse basketball history, Dwayne "Pearl" Washington has lost his battle with cancer. He was 52.

Washington burst onto the scene at Syracuse just as the Big East was beginning to show its power as a premier basketball conference.  Washington's decision to attend Syracuse was a surprise to many, since he was from Brooklyn and many thought he would go to St. John's.

His decision helped Syracuse fill the Carrier Dome and made them nationally relevant.

Washington was named an All-American at Syracuse from 1984 through 1986. He was  first team All-Big East twice and he was the Big East tournament most valuable player in 1985. He led the Orange in assists and steals during each of his three seasons with the school. Syracuse was 71-24 when Washington was with the team.

He played just three seasons in the NBA, then went back to school to earn his degree.  Syracuse retired his number 31 in 1996.

Washington was diagnosed with a brain tumor last summer and underwent surgery in the fall.