Dwayne Schintzius: From Prep Phenom to Enigma

Dwayne Schintzius: From Prep Phenom to Enigma

March 23, 1999

Tampa Prep's Casey Sanders will join an elite group when he steps onto the court Wednesday for the McDonald's All-American High School Basketball Game in Ames, Iowa.

Magic Johnson.

Michael Jordan.

Grant Hill.

Dwayne Schintzius?

In 1986, Schintzius, a center for Brandon, became the first Hillsborough County product to play in the game. In fact, until this season, he was the only county player ever invited to join the all-star ensemble of seniors from across the nation.

At 7 feet 2 and blessed with a deft passing touch, Schintzius, now with the Boston Celtics, seemingly had limitless potential.

Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenlon, who had the 6-foot-11 Sanders for four seasons, also had a chance to coach Schintzius, though only for a summer all-star team.

"He had unbelievable skills," recalls Fenlon, who coached Schintzius for about 30 games on Team Florida. "He was a great passer, a great rebounder. He changed people's shots. And he could definitely run the floor. But what separated him from other kids was his ability to pass the ball."

What Schintzius became after high school, in the eyes of many, was a giant enigma.

He was suspended during his senior season at the University of Florida for his role in an off-campus fight. Shortly after, Schintzius had squabbles over his hair - long in back, spiked on top - and his weight - too much of it - with interim coach Don DeVoe.

Schintzius eventually quit the team. He averaged 14.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.4 blocks for his collegiate career.

The San Antonio Spurs drafted Schintzius in the first round (24th overall) in 1990. His rookie year, he averaged a career-high 3.8 points and often drew criticism from coach Larry Brown about his work habits.

The Celtics are Schintzius' sixth team since entering the league. He has career averages of 2.9 points and 2.5 rebounds a game.

An underachiever? Maybe. But also maybe a victim of expectations out of control.

After working with two McDonald's All-Americans, Fenlon knows that potential exists.

"You take it for granted that you'd love to be 7 feet tall, but that's also a burden," Fenlon said. "You automatically have certain expectations thrown upon you, and a kid 17 years old might not be ready for them.

"These kids are still finding out who they are."

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