The Rafters, Class of 2011: Derrick Chievous

Derrick Chievous (1984-88)

1984-85: 13.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.4 APG
1985-86: 18.8 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.4 APG
1986-87: 24.1 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 1.9 APG
1987-88: 23.4 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.6 APG

Images via The Savitar.
A notoriously quirky 6’7" forward from New York City’s Jamaica, Queens, neighborhood, Derrick Chievous was nearly as famous for always wearing a Band-Aid as for being one of the great pure scorers in Mizzou history. Chievous began filling the hoop from the moment he set foot on campus, scoring a freshman-record 32 points against Arizona just one month into his career. As a sophomore, he led the Tigers in scoring with 18.8 points per game, and his season total of 640 points was then the second most in school history. Chievous elevated his game as a junior, earning first team All-Big Eight and second team All-America honors, leading the conference in scoring, guiding the team to a league title, and showing a remarkable ability to get to the free throw line (for his career, he made more free throws than any other Tiger attempted). His season total of 821 points remains a Missouri record, and his three-year total of 1,879 made him the Tigers’ all-time scoring leader with a full season left to play. All-Big Eight again as a senior, Chievous scored a career-high 42 points in a win over Virginia Tech. He closed his career with 2,580 points (still first by a huge margin), 979 rebounds (then second, now fourth), and a career 19.9 points per game average, second only to Willie Smith.

Michael Atchison: Whenever you hear someone say "that record will never be broken" you should be aggressively skeptical. Most folks assume that they’ll never see DiMaggio’s 56 topped, but most folks never thought they’d see Ruth’s 714 surpassed, either. Most think Wilt’s 100 is safe, but most couldn’t imagine Wilt’s very existence in the first place. We couldn’t envision Wayne Gretzky, either, or Michael Jordan until they happened. The magic of the numbers is in exceeding your imagination.

Let’s toss another number out there: 2,580.

That’s how many points Derrick Chievous scored at Missouri.

Here’s another number: 396.

That’s how many points there are between Chievous and Doug Smith, who sits second all-time.

Another: 996.

That’s how many points separate Chievous from the top scorer in school history not to play four years. Kareem Rush tallied 1584 points in three seasons. You think he would have scored a thousand as a senior?

How much imagination do you have? No Tiger has ever played more than 38 games in a season. If someone were to magically hit that mark four times, he would play in 152 games. And to top Derrick Chievous, he’d have to average 17 points per game for the full span. To date, only two Tigers – Chievous and Smith – have played four years and averaged that many points.

How likely is it that a guy who could score 17 points per game over 152 games would make it to his senior year in this age? To his junior year?

It could happen. A kid from Missouri recently scored 2,872 in four years at North Carolina.

But will it happen? In your lifetime?

Derrick Chievous was an enigma as a player. A kid from Queens? In Columbia? A new band-aid every game? For no apparent reason? Did he just bark like a dog? Did he just make that shot? Did he really invent the term "erotic dunking"? Could he really co-exist with Norm Stewart?

His story, every part of it, challenged the imagination. His statistical legacy does, too.

How quirky can the story get? As of today, Derrick Chievous is honored in the Rock M Nation rafters but not in Mizzou Arena.

Weird, right?

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