Schintzius Nearing End

Schintzius Nearing End

February 2, 1999

Center Dwayne Schintzius had his nose broken in practice Saturday by an errant elbow.

Maybe that knocked some sense into him.

Schintzius, the former University of Florida bad boy, is getting what is likely his last chance to salvage an NBA career that has been marked by plenty of laughs but vast underachievement.

The Boston Celtics, desperate to find a center, signed Schintzius to a one-year deal, hoping he finally has decided to get serious about basketball.

"The sands in his hour glass are going the other way now," said Chris Wallace, the Celtics' general manager. "He doesn't have a lot of time left. But he still has something you can't teach. He's 7-foot-3."

Schintzius, 30, didn't play last season because of ankle surgery. He played only 15 games the season before because of back and ankle problems. Since he first came into the league as a first-round draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs in 1990, he never has played more than 43 games, bouncing around to six teams.

"His biggest problem was that he never worked hard, never had his priorities in order," said Philadelphia Coach Larry Brown, who drafted Schintzius in San Antonio. "But there are very few big people in this league with the skills and the understanding of the game that he has. I really like the kid. I hope he makes it."

The Celtics, who probably will use a center-by-committee routine, like what they have seen. In their first exhibition game, Schintzius played 23 minutes and had a game-high 10 rebounds, six points and two blocked shots.

Although he was not in good condition, his weight was down to 258 pounds, almost 30 less than he was with the Clippers two seasons ago.

Schintzius had surgery Monday to reset his broken nose, but he will return to practice Wednesday wearing a face mask. In the earlier practices, it was obvious he had been away from basketball for some time. He was so dehydrated after one workout that trainers hooked him up to IVs.

"I had one in each arm. I looked like an octopus," he said. "I felt like I was going to die out there. Other than that, I was fine."

In almost Rodman-esque fashion, Schintzius has dyed his hair golden blond. He had a tattoo with his wife's name on one arm, but he tried to cover it with a panther after they divorced. It looks a mess. On the other arm is another faded tattoo, and he isn't even sure what it is anymore. The one he does like is on his ankle. It's Bart Simpson.

"That's my boy and mentor - Bart. He's who I try to emulate," Schintzius said. "I guess I'm just a natural goofball."

This is the same player who quit the Florida Gators during his senior season because he hated Coach Don DeVoe. At the time, Schintzius declared: "I can no longer sail under the direction of Captain Ahab."

Now he is playing for Rick Pitino, one of the more demanding NBA coaches.

"Size is always going to be needed in this league," he said. "But I don't want to just stick around. I want to be one of those players who people know your name, not just because you've been in a movie [Eddie with Whoopi Goldberg) or you act goofy."

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