Jan. 28, 2012
The fun of meeting an NBA star hasn't totally worn off for freshman Quinton Chievous. At least not yet.
As the son of former NBA player and Missouri standout Derrick Chievous, Quinton has been introduced to his fare share of professional basketball players during his lifetime.
It's one thing to walk up to a pro and ask for an autograph. However, it's something entirely different -- and career changing -- to learn the art of basketball from the masters themselves.
"I think it's cool to be honest, but at the same time, it's a blessing to actually learn from an NBA player and get to work out with them," Chievous said. "I think that's a great thing. Having my father play in the NBA, it's a great connection."
In some ways, the younger Chievous' game started the developing before his was born. The moves around the basket Quinton learned from his father were taught to him during his playing days with legendary center Hakeem Olajuon when the two were teammates with the Houston Rockets in the 1980s.
Basketball education has been a step-by-step process for the freshman Vol, albeit one with a very accelerated learning curve. While Chievous played hoops frequently in the park (and was a high-draft choice once team captains knew his basketball heritage), he did not start playing organized basketball until high school when he moved to Chicago.
"I just knew how to play pick-up," Chievous said. "I could always score, but my coach in high school really taught me the concepts of defense. He taught me how to be a student of the game. Before that, I was just a basketball player. I was out there trying to score."
Chievous' studies didn't just end with formal practice or pick-up games on the playground. It was also about knowing and appreciating the past.
Like any proper resident of the Windy City, Chievous has a certain respect for the Chicago Bulls. He was only six years old in 1998 when the Bulls wrapped up their sixth NBA crown in the decade, but he is well aware of the exploits of all-time greats like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. He owns the tapes and film of those two stars that coaches growing up have given him.
"It's still just legendary, Michael Jordan playing in Chicago," Chievous said.
While Chievous started playing high school basketball fairly late compared to most other players, his skills were already good enough to land him a spot on the Tennessee roster. He said he can already tell his skills have improved tremendously, particularly on the defensive end, since signing on to play for head coach Cuonzo Martin and the rest of the UT staff.
"I haven't been playing basketball that long," Chievous said. "I felt like with them I could improve my skills and get to the level I wanted. I felt like they had everything here. I really liked Coach Martin and how he's turning young guys into men. I feel like if basketball doesn't pan out he can help turn me into a great person off the court."
For now, Chievous is biding his time as a redshirt, hoping the training in the gym and in the weight room will pay off when he steps onto the court for the Vols next season.
"I'm really just looking at it as a long-term process, and I feel like me working out every day is going to help the team next year," Chievous said. "Me being a freshman, I think it'll be great. I'll be able to help the team out a lot.