Matured Tennessee transfer Chievous eager to resume basketball career at HU

Son of Missouri legend will have two years with Pirates after graduating from Tennessee

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No one in Columbia, Mo., could have been surprised by Quinton Chievous' basketball gifts. He was built for the game, and his father is hoops royalty there, the University of Missouri's career scoring leader and a former first-round NBA draft choice.

But what did baffle folks was why Chievous played only in pick-up games. Why didn't he play for his school? What about the renowned summer circuit?

Long story short: Derrick Chievous wouldn't let his son play. Quinton was too unfocused, undisciplined and immature.

Fast forward several years: Quinton is less than a month shy of a fast-track graduation from the University of Tennessee and soon will head to Hampton University to conclude his college basketball career.

"He's a very mature young man," Pirates coach Ed Joyner Jr. said, "and he's very offensively gifted. He can shoot the basketball. He has the ability to play multiple positions for us, and I'm talking about (shooting guard, small forward and power forward)."

To best chronicle this transformed young man's journey to Hampton, to see why Joyner believes he'll be a leader on and off the court, start in Columbia.

From 1984-88, Derrick Chievous was a showman in the Show Me State. A 6-foot-7 small forward, he embodied smooth, averaging 19.8 points and 7.5 rebounds for his career, 24.1 and 8.6 during an All-America junior season.

A gift for gab and a trademark Band-Aid — cut above the right eye during a junior-high game in his native New York City, Chievous took to wearing a bandage all the time after playing well in his next outing — only added to the legend.

The Houston Rockets drafted Chievous No. 16, but his college success never translated to the NBA. He played two-plus seasons before heading to the Continental Basketball Association and then to Greece and Argentina.

"I worked at a group home for about 10 years," Chievous said of his post-basketball life in Columbia, "and (Quinton) was around a lot of those kids. I basically brought him around to let him see that you don't need to be like this. But when he was there, it seemed like life in that facility was so great for those guys, that he kind of gravitated."

Said Quinton: "I wasn't really focused academically, and I was getting into a lot of trouble in public school, trying to fit in, acting up, so my father, he wouldn't let me play (basketball)."

Private school and a more structured life with his mother, Michelle Cole, in Chicago remedied all. He became more attentive in class and blossomed on the court at Notre Dame Prep.

"I grew up a lot," Quinton said.

Quality programs such as Saint Louis, Southern Illinois and Colorado State offered scholarships, but Quinton chose a more ambitious path: Tennessee. He redshirted in 2011-12 and averaged 10.2 minutes, 2.5 points and 2.4 rebounds the following season.

Though not Derrick-caliber numbers, they represented a credible start, especially for someone so new to organized basketball. But this past season, Quinton played a meager 32 minutes in nine games, and even before Coach Cuonzo Martin left for Cal-Berkeley, he decided to transfer.

When Hampton assistant coach Akeem Miskdeen heard the news, he immediately mined contacts in his native Chicago. Quinton also considered overtures from Northwestern, Southern Mississippi and Valparaiso, but while visiting HU last week, he signed scholarship papers.

NCAA rules require most transfers to sit out a season, but since Quinton soon will graduate from Tennessee, earning a degree in communication studies in three years, he is eligible immediately for the Pirates, with two seasons remaining.

Quinton is 6-6, a natural wing, and felt miscast as a power forward at Tennessee. At Hampton, Joyner sees him as the final piece of a championship puzzle. The Pirates went a combined 24-8 in regular-season Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play the past two seasons, but 0-2 in the league tournament.

"We have some good young kids coming back," Joyner said. "We thought we were going to be good anyway. So anybody we brought in, we felt like had to have an impact right now. Or, somebody worth investing the future in. Anything in between really didn't make sense. We felt like he would come in and make an immediate impact."

Quinton joins an established junior core that includes Brian Darden, Deron Powers, Ke'Ron Brown and Jervon Pressley, plus promising Miami of Ohio transfer Reggie Johnson.

"We think with the addition of Quinton, you can never promise a championship, but we feel like we're right up there," Joyner said. "We know we're ready to compete for it, and hopefully he can help take us over the top."

Derrick offered little advice on Quinton's search for a new home but welcomed his decision. He has family in Norfolk and Richmond, and a former Missouri teammate, Anthony Peeler, is an assistant coach at Virginia Union, also in Richmond.

"My son is his own master," Derrick said. "It's not about me, it's about him. It's his chapter, and I'm going to do everything in my power to help him. … There's no ceiling for his potential because he's still new to the game, and he loves to learn the game and he loves to play. And when you have that, you listen."

Quinton has listened to countless stories about his dad. He's seen the video, absorbed the advice and is ready to play.

"Do you wear a Band-Aid?" I asked.

Quinton laughed and said, "Only if I'm hurt."

David Teel can be reached at 757-247-4636 or by email at dteel@dailypress.com. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime and follow him at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP.

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