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A former Winona State University basketball player was fatally stabbed in Australia. 

Alier Riak, 23, was a member of the WSU men's basketball program from 2019-21, having previously played two years at Southeastern Community College in Iowa. 

According to Australian media outlet The Age, Riak, who is from Perth, Australia, was with his brother in Melbourne when they were allegedly "ambushed" by five people after leaving a music venue on March 13. More from The Age

“During the unprovoked, violent disorder, the deceased came to the aid of his brother and was viciously assaulted by the offending group. During this attack, the deceased was fatally stabbed multiple times and his brother was also stabbed multiple times, requiring emergency medical intervention,” court documents read. “Upon the arrival of the police … members of the offending group continued to harass and antagonise [sic] the two victims as they lay in the middle of Bourke Street with serious injuries, prior to fleeing the scene.” 

Riak, 23, had returned to his homeland to pursue his dreams of playing professional basketball. A GoFundMe for his family explains that he played for a semi-pro team in Australia in 2021 and had recently signed to play for the Darwin Salties of the NBL1 in the upcoming 2022 season. 

Todd Eisner, head coach at Winona State, issued a statement describing Riak as "someone who brought a great personality to our program and his spirit put smiles on the faces of the people he came in contact with on our campus." 

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"Alier was a gentle soul. Not only was he kind, he was selfless, hardworking and full of love for his family and friends. Being a role model, Alier’s influence was huge within his community and beyond," the GoFundMe reads. 

Iowa-based The Hawk Eye covered Riak during his time at Southeastern Community College. It notes that Riak was originally from Sudan, where his family fled civil war in 2005, before living at a refugee camp in Kenya prior to moving to Australia. 

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