TRAGEDY IN NYC
FORMER SULLIVAN STAR DARIUS LEE SLAIN BY STRAY BULLET
by John Conway
NEW YORK, July 2022 – Former SUNY Sullivan basketball standout and Region XV Player-of-the Year Darius Lee is dead, the victim of a stray bullet in a New York City shooting on June 20.
Lee was 21.
He was among nine people shot at a late-night gathering near East 139th Street and Fifth Avenue in Harlem. The 6-foot-6 230 pounder from St. Raymond’s High School in the Bronx had starred at Sullivan in the 2019 – 2020 season, which was capped off by his selection as the National Junior College Athletic Association Region XV Player-of-the-Year. He had gone on to play for Houston Baptist University in Texas, averaging more than 18 points per game there.
SUNY Sullivan Athletic Director and Dean of Student Development Services Chris DePew said he “was devastated” to hear the news about the shooting. DePew described Lee as an “incredible player and better person” who had a great impact on the Sullivan program. Generals men’s basketball head coach Brent Wilson echoed those sentiments, calling the news of Lee’s death, “heartbreaking.”
“Darius was hardworking, humble and had a promising future. He was a quiet but confident leader with a smile that could light up a room,” Wilson said. “He was a competitor that was unfazed throughout adversity. Darius was everything we look for in a student-athlete.”
The Houston Baptist website posted that “Lee was on track to graduate with his bachelor’s degree in December and was recently named HBU Robbie Robertson Male Student-Athlete of the Year. He was a second team All-Southland Conference selection for the 2021-22 season and led the Huskies in scoring and rebounding and was sixth in the nation in steals per game.”
Southland Conference Commissioner Chris Grant posted on Twitter that Lee was “an incredible leader, both on and off the court.”
Police said Lee was the only one of the nine fatally wounded in the shooting, and was not the intended victim. The investigation into the incident is ongoing, police say, and there had been no arrests made in the shooting at the time The Sentinel went to press.
“He was an innocent kid that was in school playing basketball,” Lee’s sister, Tiara, told the New York Post. “He cared about basketball. He decided to stay outside one day, and this is what happens.”