Quinton Chievous leaving basketball Vols

Quinton Chievous leaving basketball Vols

April 4th, 2014 by Patrick Brown in Sports - College

Tennessee guard Quinton Chievous (31) celebrates a 3-pointer while Missouri forward Tony Criswell (3) looks on during their NCAA basketball game in Knoxville in this file photo.

Tennessee guard Quinton Chievous (31) celebrates a 3-pointer...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

KNOXVILLE - Quinton Chievous has been granted a release from his basketball scholarship at Tennessee and is free to transfer to any program outside the Southeastern Conference, Volunteers officials announced Wednesday.

The third-year sophomore's departure means Tennessee will have at least one open scholarship for next season.

In 31 career appearances, the 6-foot-6 Chievous, whose father Derrick was drafted 16th overall by Houston in the 1988 NBA draft after setting the career scoring record at Missouri, averaged 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds in 8.3 minutes per game.

"I want to thank the university, Coach [Cuonzo] Martin and the staff here for giving me an opportunity," Chievous said in the program's release. "It's a tough decision to leave Tennessee, but I feel like it's the best decision for me. My teammates here are like brothers to me, and we're all really close. I'm definitely going to continue supporting them."

After redshirting, Chievous played in 22 games last season and averaged 2.5 points and 2.4 rebounds in 10.2 minutes an appearance. He scored a career-high 10 points in the SEC tournament first-round win against Mississippi State. This season, Chievous played in just nine games, with 13 of his 32 minutes coming in the season opener at Xavier.

"We have enjoyed having Quinton as part of this program for the last three years," Martin said. "He's worked extremely hard on the court, and he has also matched that effort in the classroom. He's on track to graduate in three years, which is impressive.

"His Tennessee teammates and coaches wish him nothing but the best, and we expect him to make an impact wherever he lands."

Chievous becomes the third player from Tennessee's 2011 signing class to transfer, joining point guard Wes Washpun (Northern Iowa) and center Yemi Makanjuola (UNC Wilmington). Junior college forward Dwight Miller made minimal impact in two seasons. Josh Richardson, who'll be a senior next season, is the only player left from that haul.

Guards Kevin Ware and Chris Jones signed with the Vols for that class while Bruce Pearl was still the coach, but Ware was granted a release and ended up at Louisville, where Jones also landed after two years in junior college. Martin put together the class after his late-March hiring, and the Vols lost five seniors and two early entrants into the NBA from Pearl's last team.

Chievous's departure leaves the Vols at 12 scholarships for next year, meaning one spot is available for a late addition or a transfer. If junior All-SEC forward Jarnell Stokes elects to enter the NBA draft, Tennessee would have two open spots.

The Vols lose four seniors -- leading scorer Jordan McRae, forward Jeronne Maymon, point guard and Memphis transfer Antonio Barton and wing D'Montre Edwards, who missed most of the last half of the season with an ankle injury -- and add four signees: point guard Larry Austin, wing Jordan Cornish and forwards Phil Cofer and C.J. Turman.

Tennessee has been linked to Tennessee State transfer M.J. Rhett, a 6-9 forward who averaged 10.3 points and 7.9 rebounds this season for the Tigers and already has made official visits to Tulane and Oklahoma State.

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@timesfreepress.com