Dwayne Schintzius, the talented big man who starred at Florida from 1987 to 1990 and led the Gators to their first three NCAA Tournament appearances, died Sunday afternoon of complications from a bone marrow transplant, reports Joey Johnston of The Tampa Tribune. He was 43.
Schintzius was diagnosed with an acute form of leukemia in 2009, and had undergone a bone-marrow transplant in January 2010 that was successful enough for doctors to pronounce him cancer-free. But complications from that transplant necessitated another more recent transplant, and Schintzius succumbed to medical issues stemming from that this afternoon while surrounded by his family at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.
Schintzius stood 7'2" and weighed 275 during his playing days, and served as a workhorse down low for Norm Sloan's Gators, scoring the fifth-most points in Florida history (1,624) before Erving Walker shuttled him down to sixth this year. He remains the only player in SEC history to tally 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, 250 assists, and 250 blocks. But issues with Sloan replacement Don DeVoe's coaching led Schintzius to quit the team in his senior year, and after a professional career that was curtailed by injury, he did not return to the O'Connell Center until 2011, when he attended Florida's win over Georgia and was given a raucous ovation by the crowd.
I was proud to be part of that crowd that night, and though all of his days as a Gators predated me being able to walk, I'm proud that Dwayne Schintzius was part of Florida basketball's history. My best wishes and thoughts go out to his family and friends.