A few visits to specialists in Dallas and elsewhere later, though, and Elson was good to go.
"We were comfortable," Schumacher said, "because they said his heart is as normal as anybody else's heart is."
Right away, the junior-college coach — who took Elson sight unseen — knew what he had.
"He was extremely raw," said Schumacher, now head coach and athletic director at North Dakota State College of Science.
"But he had a very, very good work ethic. His shoulders and his upper body really started to fill out, and he could really run and move for a guy his size.
"I used to tell Francisco, 'Every second you're not in class or studying you need to be in the weight room or on the basketball court, because you're gonna be able to make some money — if you work at it. Because you're 7-foot, and can run like a deer.' "
Elson heeded his coach's advice, and to this day is glad he did.
"He took me in, he took care of me," Elson said of Schumacher, who has also coached current New Orleans Hornets guard Marcus Thornton and ex-Jazz/Weber State guard Ruben Nembhard on the juco level.
"Coming from a foreign country, barely speaking English, I didn't understand a word. But (I) showed him I wanted to play, I wanted to learn the game. He basically saw me as his son, and anything I wanted to do he was there for me."
Schumacher was spot-on about Elson's speed, evidenced by then-Oklahoma State assistant coach Paul Graham's comment as the two watched him run a 200-yard sprint on the track.
Before Elson even came off the turn, according to Schumacher, "Graham said he can have a Division I scholarship anywhere."
Graham wasn't alone in Kilgore.
The Houston Rockets scouted Elson, and everyone from Lute Olson and Bob Huggins to Tom Izzo, Norm Stewart and Gene Keady took a crack.
But Elson didn't pick Oklahoma State or any team coached by the aforementioned major-college heavyweights.
"I guess fate had me go to Cal," he said.
After two years in Berkeley, the Denver Nuggets selected Elson 41st overall in the NBA Draft's second round.
But he spent his first four pro seasons playing in Spain, and the Nuggets didn't sign him until Carmelo Anthony's rookie season in 2003-04.
Jazz head scout David Fredman recalled the Nuggets liking "his ability to run the floor and make a shot."
"He was one of the harder workers we had in Denver," said Fredman, who was a Nuggets' assistant general manager when they brought him over.
Elson spent three seasons in Denver, was a part-time starter on San Antonio's 2007 NBA title team and had brief stays with Seattle, Milwaukee and Philadelphia before Utah signed the free agent for depth last month.
The heart situation never concerned the Nuggets, and — though he gets tested regularly — it hasn't been an issue during seven NBA seasons.
"I guess it's just been (Patrick's) blessings over me, saying that, 'I'm going to look over you and nothing is going to happen to you,' " Francisco said. "I think everything is fine now. I don't really think about it anymore."
If it's not in his mind, though, it's on his mother's.
Orsine, Fransisco said, "told me she's happy she let me go, because she never really knew what I could be."
But that joy rings with an undertone of melancholy heard all the way to Rotterdam.
"She's happy, but somewhat sad, because she's not here close to me — because she never knows what could happen," Elson said. "She's always calling, asking me how I'm doing, if I need anything. That makes me sad, because she really wants to be with me and take care of me."
"You never know what life brings," he added. "Anything can happen."
Francisco Elson leans forward, knowing full well that anything really can happen. The plastic chair tips from its backside.
"Me playing basketball is just me remembering (Patrick)," he says.
It's a blessing, but a weighty one.
"The burden is that it's never enough," Elson says. "I don't know when it's enough for him. ... But as long as I'm feeling good, and I can get a job, I'm gonna keep going."
Just like he did when he couldn't get cleared.
"If I couldn't play I couldn't play. But when I got the green light to play, I was going to play until I died. I would say, 'OK, if I die on the court, then I'll die on the court.' "
Elson is 34 now, and has never averaged more than 5 points a game.
But he's not done.
"Me and my brother never really talked about playing pro. I never really thought about (it)," he says softly. "It was just trying to prove something to him. I'm doing this for him, basically saying, 'This is for you, man.'
"Everything I want to do, everything I achieve or accomplish, is because he's pushing me. There's nobody else. There's only one person that's pushing me, and that's him. That's how I feel."
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