No quittin' for Quinton

Fans didn't get to see one Vol basketball player perform last season, so Inside Tennessee decided to see how he's progressing. Sign in or subscribe now to read an interesting update.

Quinton Chievous ran just as hard as his Tennessee teammates during wind sprints. He worked just as hard in conditioning drills. He competed just as hard on the practice floor.

So, when he found out shortly before the Vols' exhibition opener last November that he would be sitting out the entire 2011-12 basketball season, he was devastated.

Recently asked to single out the low point of his first year on The Hill, Chievous replied: "When I found out I had to redshirt. I had put in a lot of work — all the sprints, all of the conditioning and everything — and I was kind of disappointed. But I turned it into a positive."

Even as speculation swirled that he would transfer to another school, Chievous focused on developing the skills needed to contribute at his current school. Still, practicing and never proved to be a challenge.

"It's really hard," Chievous conceded, "but Coach (Cuonzo Martin) always told me that April was going to come fast — and it's here now. I feel like with me maintaining, staying focused and doing everything he told me, it's really going to pay off next year."

"I really have to thank the whole coaching staff for staying on me, even days when I wanted to just not practice because I knew I wasn't going to play. They really put me through it."

Quinton Chievous

In retrospect, Chievous probably needed a year of seasoning. Although he is the son of former first-round NBA Draft pick Derrick Chievous, Quinton didn't play organized basketball until his sophomore year of high school. He was still pretty raw when he enrolled at Tennessee and, after a long talk with his head coach, he came to realize as much.

"I felt like the whole extra year would give me a boost and elevate my game," Chievous said.

From all accounts, it did just that.

"I feel like I've improved a lot," he said. "I really have to thank the whole coaching staff for staying on me, even days when I wanted to just not practice because I knew I wasn't going to play. They really put me through it. Now I'm waking up at 5:30, watching film and doing everything I can to try and help improve this team."

Chievous hopes to help improve the team in 2012-13 by being basketball's version of a baseball utility man. Except for center and point guard, the 6-foot-5, 205-pounder can play every position on the floor.

"It's a combination," he said of his role. "I work with the posts and the guards. Coach says I can play the 2 through the 4, depending on the matchup, so I've got to know all positions."

Watching his teammates play last season was frustrating, especially when the Vols struggled to a 10-12 record through January. They won nine of their final 12 games, however, finishing second in SEC play at 10-6 and advancing to Round 2 of the National Invitation Tournament. Chievous says the Vols molded into a team right before his eyes.

Noting huge strides in terms of "the way we work together and the way we talk," he added: "We really bought into Coach Martin's system. In the beginning we kind of struggled but towards the end of the season I feel like we bought in to everything he said, everything he said really worked out and we came out with a great season."

The Vols should be better in 2012-13, since they lose just one player who contributed significantly in 2011-12 — senior wing Cameron Tatum. Chievous could be destined to fill a similar role. Asked what he brings to the lineup, he smiled.

"Hard work and basically doing everything we need — diving for balls, knocking down open shots," he said. "Anything Coach wants me to do and anything the team needs."

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