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Whitworth’s Chloe Quinnett sticks to the family business

Whitworth senior center Chloe Quinnett is following in her father’s footsteps by playing college basketball. Brian Quinnett played for Washington State prior to a three-year NBA career. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Whitworth senior center Chloe Quinnett is following in her father’s footsteps by playing college basketball. Brian Quinnett played for Washington State prior to a three-year NBA career. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Chloe Quinnett isn’t broken – yet.

After all, she can still add up all of her basketball injuries on both of her hands. But the Whitworth senior is running out of fingers to count on.

Quinnett stuck out her thumb to count her first major injury – a Jones fracture midway through her final season at Moscow High that required surgery.

Then another finger – three weeks after she returned, Quinnett broke her wrist at practice.

“So I didn’t play my senior year, which was brutal,” she said.

The center still had a spot on Whitworth’s roster, but she found herself on the sidelines again before she could even start her freshman season. During a preseason conditioning class, Quinnett dislocated side joints in her back while deadlifting, putting her on the bench until December.

Quinnett pulled out her other hand and kept counting – a corneal abrasion and three concussions.

“I didn’t have too many injuries my sophomore year until the very end, my last game,” Quinnett said.

That’s when she got her first major concussion. She took a knee to the temple while chasing a loose ball at George Fox.

“That was like the worst symptom score they ever had, so I went to the ER and the whole bit,” she said.

But not even a trip to the hospital held her back. Quinnett, who also competes in several field events for Whitworth’s track and field team, walked into the track season just a month later and went on to take the Northwest Conference title in shot put.

“So, I don’t know, maybe it (the concussion) works,” she joked.

Quinnett said her long list of injuries is a testament to her toughness on the court. She said she’s too passionate about the game – and too stubborn – to just hang up her jersey and give her body a break.

That passion and strong spirit wasn’t just pulled from nothing. She learned how to get tough and bounce back into the game that she loves from someone who loves the game just as much.

Quinnett is one of three children who have followed in the footsteps of their father Brian, a former small forward for the New York Knicks.

Brian, who played at Washington State in the mid 1980s, spent three years in the NBA. His career on the big stage began in 1989 when he was drafted in the second round by New York. He spent most of his time in a Knicks uniform and also had a brief stint with the Dallas Mavericks in 1992.

Brian left the NBA following his 1991-1992 season and went on to play overseas and in the Continental Basketball Association, a professional league in the U.S.

Now Brian lives in Moscow, Idaho, with Chloe’s stepmom, Julie, and her younger brother Gabe, all of whom make regular trips to Spokane to watch Chloe play.

When she got her latest concussion just two weeks ago in a scrimmage game going up for a rebound, Chloe was already asking the trainer when she could get back on the court.

Brian was also looking for a return date.

“My dad was like, ‘Alright, what’s the recovery period. When will you be back?’ And he’s been texting me every day, ‘How’s practice? How’s practice? How’d you do today?’” Chloe said.

Chloe’s days on the court started when she was very young. She followed her older sister Abigail, who went on to play for Idaho, from youth basketball to high school.

Always on the sidelines was her dad.

“It’s a special thing when you have a love for the game with someone so important to you and my dad really loves basketball,” Chloe said. “He knows the game and he sees the game in a … more advanced way than most people.”

Chloe didn’t get a real insight on her dad’s early career and the impact it had on her Moscow community until middle school. She remembered a few of her friends asked her about a YouTube video that had resurfaced of Scottie Pippen, who played for the Bulls at the time, blocking her dad’s shot at the rim.

“It’s just Scottie Pippen just swatting the crap out of his shot,” Chloe said. “People still find it, even in college.”

She’s had plenty of teammates and friends at school who over the years have asked about her dad and have reminded her of the video that Chloe and her family can only laugh about now.

Despite Brian’s impressive early career, his trip to the NBA has never pressured Chloe to play, or even play well.

“I don’t feel like it’s ever been a big part of who she feels like she is,” Whitworth coach Helen Higgs said. “I think she thinks it’s just cool that he did it.”

Chloe said basketball has always been a great hobby between classes, but her time on the court will come to an end in the spring just before she graduates.

Chloe said she’s always been realistic about her chances at even playing professionally in a foreign country. Her 5-10 frame is too short for a spot at the post on the big stage, and her feet aren’t quick enough to work the perimeter as a guard.

Instead, she plans to get her doctorate in psychology. She’s narrowed her list of graduate schools to mostly the northwest, with Seattle University as her top choice.

Chloe wants to eventually open a holistic therapy practice that integrates several types of therapy, including yoga therapy, nutrition, sleep and outdoor recreational therapy. Her practice would focus on families affected by suicide and suicide survivors, which would follow her dad and grandpa in their current work in suicide prevention training.

For now, Chloe is looking not far beyond the Whitworth Fieldhouse, where she’ll get her last year on the court.

She said she’s not taking it any easier this year. She plans to push her body to the limits one last time.

“I want to, win or lose, to know that at the end of the season, there wasn’t anything left, that I didn’t leave anything out,” Chloe said. “I want to go all out on the court, all out for teammates, all out for my coaches, and all out for my dad.”