Sealy stares and glares with rookie restlessness Pacers' top pick finds life a bench

December 31, 1992|By New York Daily News

NEW YORK -- He has done more staring and glaring during his maiden season than scoring points and pulling in rebounds. That's the way it is for an NBA rookie who sits behind Reggie Miller at shooting guard and has Detlef Schrempf ahead of him at small forward.

Malik Sealy understands this. Still, irregular playing time has been the most difficult adjustment to the NBA for the former St. John's star, regardless of who is in front of him.

"Not playing, playing minutes here and there," Sealy said before the Indiana Pacers faced the New York Knicks on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. "I've come to accept that. Being that you're a rookie, those are the type of things that you have to learn to adjust to. And I just make sure when I'm called upon I'm ready to play."

"He doesn't like sitting on the bench," coach Bob Hill said about the Pacers' 1992 No. 1 draft pick. "I can tell just by looking at his face. He gives you a stare, but that's fine. He doesn't pout; it doesn't carry over into the next day. I'm glad he wants to be on the floor rather than sitting over there. That's a good sign for him. He's going to be a hell of a player, I think."

A small forward at St. John's who had to learn to play facing the basket after playing inside at Tolentine High School in the Bronx, N.Y., Sealy has been used all over the floor by the Pacers. Besides playing small forward and shooting guard, a new position for him, Sealy also has seen time at point guard due to injuries to Pooh Richardson and Vern Fleming.

"I think in the long run that will help me, because it will help me earn more spots," Sealy said. "I think [big guard] is good for me. I think I can work on my quickness, where when I move back to the [small forward] I'll have an advantage guarding quicker guys and going against quicker guys."

Entering Tuesday night, Sealy had played in 18 of 26 games, averaging 5.7 points -- shooting 40 percent from the floor -- with 2.0 rebounds, playing 11.4 minutes.

"The thing I like about him is he's so competitive," Hill said. "He doesn't quit on plays. If there's just a little bit of a chance of making that play work, he'll stay with it. He stays and plays on the boards. If they block his shot, he stays right with it and gets the offensive rebound. He's got a nose for the ball. He wants to score. It's been a little frustrating for him because he hasn't shot it well. But all rookies go through that and he'll get beyond that."

Sealy was excited about returning to the Garden, the site of many a big game for St. John's during his four-year stay. But there was a price to pay, a stiff one, in ticket requests.

"I've got about, well, I personally bought about 40 tickets," Sealy said. "But I'm going to have, wow, about 70 or 80 people here."

Sealy was reminded that this is how it would be if he was playing for the Knicks, as Mark Jackson did.

""I can spring for it two times a year," he said. "But not 42 times and then possibly the playoffs."

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