Ilgauskas Pleads No Contest To DUI Charge

By LAURA JOHNSTON, Associated Press Writer

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (AP) - Cleveland Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas pleaded no contest Tuesday to drunken driving and was sentenced to one year of probation.

Rocky River Municipal Judge Donna Congeni Fitzsimmons suspended a 30-day jail sentence and ordered Ilgauskas to pay a $1,000 fine.

"I'm sorry," Ilgauskas (pictured, above) told the judge. "I made a mistake. It won't happen again."

Lithuanian-born Ilgauskas, 27, who at 7-foot-3 towered over his lawyers, was stopped about 4 a.m. on Sept. 15 for erratic driving in Bay Village, near his Avon Lake home. He failed field sobriety tests.

His blood-alcohol level was 0.167, above Ohio's legal limit of 0.10. He was alone in the vehicle and cooperated with police.

Cavaliers coach John Lucas and teammates Tyrone Hill and Bimbo Coles vouched for Ilgauskas in court.

"He's a top-of-the-line citizen, and this is totally out of character for him," Lucas said.

Lucas said that Ilgauskas would undergo drug and alcohol counseling through the Cavaliers organization.

The judge also suspended Ilgauskas' license for a year, though he is allowed to drive to work, counseling sessions and the grocery store.

The court ordered Ilgauskas to be evaluated by a doctor within 30 days. The doctor will report his findings to Ilgauskas' probation officer.

Ilgauskas played in 62 games and averaged 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds last season after being limited to 29 games in the previous three seasons because of foot injuries.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)