Michael Crump, popular boys basketball coach at Harlem's Wadleigh, dies at age 44

Michael Crump, one of the PSAL's most popular boys basketball coaches during his time at Wadleigh Secondary School in Harlem, has died, according to several of his friends in the league and numerous posts on Twitter.

News of Crump's passing at the age of 44 traveled quickly on the social networking site on Sunday morning but details of his death have yet to be confirmed, though his top assistant, Joe Hunter, said he suffered an aneurysm sometime Saturday afternoon or evening. Donald Niang Jr., coach of the Harlem Jets AAU team, confirmed the news earlier on Sunday, saying Hunter had broke the news to him earlier.

Hunter, one of Crump's closest friends and his assistant for seven years, sobbed as he spoke to the Daily News by phone on Sunday afternoon. Hunter was getting ready to visit Crump's longtime girlfriend, Dawn. He said they would finalize funeral arrangements either later Sunday or sometime Monday.

"He was that guy in Harlem, if you had any second chance kids in Harlem, he took the have-not kids in Harlem and gave them something," Hunter said. "The people in basketball all loved and respected him. He understood Harlem and the culture probably better than anybody in the history of basketball up here in Harlem.

"He was my mentor," Hunter said. "He was everything. He was like my big brother."

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