Darius Lee, a local basketball star, was identified as the slain victim
According to broken relatives and friends, a collegiate hoops star’s future career was wiped out when he was senselessly shot dead in a mass shooting at a Father’s Day barbecue in Harlem.
Darius Lee, 21, was among nine individuals shot between East 139th Street and Fifth Avenue at the party Sunday, in what was a terrible and foreboding prologue to Tuesday’s formal start of summer, when city violence generally spikes. Lee, a 6-foot-6 guard from Harlem who was playing for Houston Baptist University in Texas, was the only one killed, according to police.
Lee’s distraught sister, Tiara, told The Post, “He was an innocent boy who was in school playing basketball.” “He was a basketball fanatic. This is what happened when he decided to remain outside one day.
“My brother is no longer with us,” she lamented. “Wonderful child. He’s vanished for no apparent cause. I’ve been attempting to solve the problem on my own.”
Lee was brought to Lincoln Medical Center and declared dead there. Before going to Houston, he attended SUNY Sullivan Community College.
Chris Williams, Lee’s coach at St. Raymond High School for Boys in The Bronx, stated, “He was a wonderful young man, starting to reach the pinnacle of his athletic ability.”
Wiliams described him as “a good citizen, a fantastic friend, and an outstanding child.” “He was the most amazing person I’ve ever met.” He was someone you wanted to support, work with, and go above and above for.
“He’s the kind of guy I’d want my son to hang around with.”
“I know people say this all the time when there are senseless shootings and murders, but he was genuinely unique.” I can’t image how difficult that must be for his mother.”
Lee scored 52 points in a game this year, according to Williams, and averaged 18 points a game.
“He was an excellent athlete and one of the best layers in his conference,” the coach stated.
“He won the title with me in Dyckman Park in 2018, and he was the MVP.”
“Everything with him was positive, whether it was his playing time or his recruitment process,” Williams continued.
“He was a 6’6″ youngster with a 5’7″ best friend, and he made sure that his 5’7″ best buddy felt included in whatever he did.” So, if he were in a competition, he would say, “Put my person [in].”
Houston Baptist University issued a statement on Monday expressing its condolences for Lee’s passing.
Lee was set to receive his bachelor’s degree in December and was just named HBU Robbie Robertson Male Student-Athlete of the Year, according to the school. “For the 2021-22 season, he earned a second-team All-Southland Conference pick, leading the Huskies in scoring and rebounding while ranking sixth in the country in steals per game.”
“We are horrified,” said his high school coach, Ron Cottrell.
“Darius Lee was a special young man who cherished the Lord, his mother, his teammates, his friends, and his whole HBU family.
“We are in disbelief and can’t comprehend this news,” Cottrell wrote. “My heart aches for his mother, sister, and entire family, as well as four members of our basketball team. Right now, the only thing that gives us peace of mind is knowing where Darius Lee is. He is safe in Jesus’ arms.”
Lee, according to Steve Moniaci, the school’s sports director, has a bright future.
“Unfortunately, this is again another example of the senseless gun violence that appears to be afflicting our country right now,” Moniaci added.
Several hundreds of people came outside Lee’s home to pray and offer their respects to the basketball star. The motive for the shooting has yet to be identified by police.