McQuitter comes by his competitiveness honestly

One thing you have to remember about Will McQuitter is, despite the fact that he has just become Rockdale’s all-time leading scorer, he is barely 17 years old.

But if you take a look at the senior’s surroundings, it’s not hard to see what he has had the success he has had in his young life.

McQuitter briefly played on the varsity as a freshman for short-term coach Slade Young and hung around long enough to score seven points.

As a sophomore, he was named the district’s newcomer of the year despite the fact that the Tigers did not make the playoffs.

While McQuitter is straight basketball, the man who’s record he just broke was a doit all athlete.

Alongside basketball, Sonny Givens was a track star and despite his stature, played football for the Tigers as well.

Givens played on the varsity for four years, scoring 1,524 career points from 1991-94, including another record 616 his senior year.

McQuitter’s vertical has grown leaps and bounds in the last year. McQuitter’s vertical has grown leaps and bounds in the last year. McQuitter is on line to smash that mark as well.

You think of P.J. Williams as perhaps Rockdale’s greatest track performer. But, Williams never won an event at the Rockdale Relays.

The reason: Sonny Givens, who in his senior year of 1994, captured four events at the Relays, Williams’ junior year.

Williams missed the Relays his senior year playing with the basketball team in the regional tournament en route to the Final Four.

So talented was Givens, that even though he was 6-6 and 200 pounds, he played safety on the Tiger football team and once returned an interception 91 yards for a touchdown.

McQuitter has come by his ability honestly.

His mother, Liz Galloway- McQuitter ,is the best girls player to ever step on the court in an RHS uniform.

McQuitter, who is now the Lady Tigers basketball coach, was a two-time all-state selection and led the Tigerettes to two state tournament appearances.

She played college ball at Temple and then UNLV and before heading into the coaching ranks, took a turn in the first women’s professional league back in the late 1970s playing for the Chicago franchise.

McQuitter’s father Greg played football at Nebraska as a defensive back.

McQuitter’s great uncle—for whom he is named—is a legendary sports figure in Chicago.

The elder McQuitter was a star for Phillips High School in Chicago in the early 1930s and then went on to play at Xavier University in New Orleans where they went 67-2 in his four years there.

He then carved out a career as a coach at Chicago Carver teaching basketball, baseball and softball.

NBA players Cazzie Russell, Terry Cummings and Tim Hardaway all felt his influence.

And speaking of family, this has been a special year in more ways than one.

Because Rockdale has a new gym to play in and both varsity teams can now play at the same sight on the same night, Coach McQuitter has been able to see her senior son play more than she ever has.

Gettin’ betta

McQuitter has improved his game each year and began hanging around noted shot doctor and former Milano coach Alvie King.

Coach McQuitter sought out King for help, when her son behaved like a typical teenager— he wouldn’t listen to her.

“I told him you’ve got one of the best coaches who has coached and played everywhere in a mom and you won’t listen to her?”

“Will has gotten explosive,” said King. “Last year he could barely jump. Now he comes over and can do a 360.

“His outside shot is much better too. When I first started working with him, he would just kind of sling it up there. It was pretty ugly.”

King works with former Thorndale stars Austin Falke and Brandon Irwin as well as Bryan High School’s rising star Chris Johnson, who starts for the Vikings as a freshman.

Also, King’s son Aubrie is considered one of the top junior high players in the state.

You can imagine the pickup games on King’s backyard court.

“Because he is so young, I think Will is going to be a handful in the next couple of years,” King said. “He’s going to be a big guard that can post people up. He’s not through growing yet, he could be 6-foot-4, 220 or 230.”

Simply put, McQuitter’s strength is his strength.

Mary Hardin-Baylor is interested in the 6-2 McQuitter although he is a classic “tweener”— not exaclty a guard, not exactly a postman.

McQuitter has also had the good fortune of playing alongside Lance Loewe, who as a consumate coaches son, is solid in every aspect of the game and takes a tremendous amount of pressure off McQuitter.

Loewe leads the team in minutes played, assists, free throw percent, three-pointers and steals.

With over 2,600 points between them, they are the most productive duo in RHS history.

The unselfish Loewe has scored 1,129 points in his career at Rockdale and will end up in the top five all-time.

No one takes the rock to the rack with more determination that McQuitter. When he ducks his head and heads to the hole, not many can put up a front.

He doubles, sometimes triple pumps—whatever it takes to put the ball in the basket.

There aren’t many guards who have shot 250 free throws as McQuitter has roaming around out there.

“He bullies those smaller guards,” Kind says.

Now the qusestion remains, can he bully the Tigers into the state playoff bracket?

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2010-01-21 digital edition

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