Richard D. “Dick” Schnittker, a former standout for the Ohio State men’s basketball team, died Jan. 12 in Green Valley, Arizona.
Schnittker, who was born in Kelleys Island, Ohio, on May 27, 1928, averaged 17.9 points per game in his collegiate career. The 6-foot-5 forward was a two-time all-Big Ten performer and two-time, including his consensus selection as a senior in 1950.
The Buckeyes finished 22-4 during Schnittker’s senior season, winning the Big Ten title and qualifying for the eight-team NCAA Tournament. Ohio State lost in the first round to eventual champion City College of New York.
An exceptional athlete, Schnittker also served as a two-way end on the Ohio State football team during the 1949 season. After starting end Sonny Gandee went down with a season-ending neck injury, head coach Wes Felder recruited Schnittker to take Gandee’s place.
In his one season on the squad, Schnittker helped the Buckeyes win a Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl victory over California.
Schnittker was the No. 4 overall pick in the 1950 NBA Draft and began his professional career with the Washington Capitols before leaving the team to join the U.S. Army to serve in the Korean War.
Two years later, Schnittker returned to the NBA to play for the Minneapolis Lakers, where he won two championships and made league history.
The former Buckeye standout became the first player to play in the Finals after not playing a game during the preceding regular season. He was later joined by Tom Hoover (1966) and Tracy McGrady (2013), who both accomplished the same feat.
The Kelleys Island, Ohio, native averaged 8.3 points per game across six seasons, winning his championships in 1953 and 1954 with the Lakers.
He was inducted to the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
Schnittker is survived by his wife, Barbara; a son, Richard Jr.; and three grandchildren.