KNOXVILLE – Redshirt sophomore guard Quinton Chievous has been granted a release by Tennessee and is free to transfer to any program outside of the SEC, UT confirmed on Thursday afternoon.
After signing in coach Cuonzo Martin’s original class in 2011, Chievous took a redshirt season in 2011-12 before partially joining the rotation in 2012-13. He averaged 10.2 minutes per game that season and 2.5 points per game to go along with 2.3 rebounds per game. He all but disappeared in 2013-14, appearing in just nine games and recording just 0.4 points per contest.
Chievous is on track to graduate this summer and could be eligible next season if he attends a school with a graduate-level program that Tennessee does not offer.
“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.”
“I want to thank the university, Coach Martin and the staff here for giving me an opportunity,” Chievous added. “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.”
His departure frees up a scholarship for the 2014-15 season. Four seniors – Antonio Barton, Jordan McRae, D’Montre Edwards and Jeronne Maymon – are departing and the Vols signed four players in the fall to replace them. Chievous' exit gives UT one open spot with Jarnell Stokes’ decision to stay for his senior year or depart for the NBA draft still looming.
Martin has several options for what to do with the open spot or two, but expect him to address frontcourt depth if he uses the scholarship now.
The Vols could pursue a transfer such as Tennessee State forward M.J. Rhett, who will be eligible in 2014-15 after averaging 10.9 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game for TSU last season.
The Vols could also add a high school or junior college big man in the spring signing period, though that crop is fairly picked over at this point. Martin could also put the scholarship in his back pocket for next year’s signing class as he looks to reload a team that is losing a considerable amount of talent after this year’s Sweet 16 run.
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga