Whipple says Marines made him a new man
The Calvary Christian graduate led Point Park College to a 21-1 record.
By JOHN KOVACH
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
PITTSBURGH -- Chivas Whipple of Youngstown said the U.S. Marine Corps made him a new man.
And the Calvary Christian High graduate recommends it to young people who want to improve their lives and future.
"I recommend any branch of the service because any branch will give you that direction to get a steady job with a steady income where you don't have to sell drugs, and give you the credentials coming out to show people that you have that [Marine Corps] background," said Whipple, now a junior guard and leader on the Point Park University basketball team in Pittsburgh, who is majoring in behavioral science. "They know what the values are in the Marine Corps."
Whipple, who has led Point Park to a 21-1 record and a No. 3 ranking in the nation in NAIA entering Thursday's home game against Geneva College, said that the discipline that he learned in the Marine Corps changed his life.
"The main benefit that I gained from being in the Marine Corps is discipline," said Whipple, who led the team in scoring (21.9) and rebounding (8.6) averages through 21 games, and also led in blocks (17) and steals (36) through 19 games.
"When you are in the Marines, they don't force discipline on you but you really have no say-so about it," he said. "Whereas, before I joined, I might not do what I was supposed to do. Sometimes you are immature and have no discipline.
"They gave me the discipline, and when I got out I realized that the things that I did in the Marine Corps gave me the discipline, and looking back I realized that I made the right decision."
Credits Bubon for help
Whipple, the son of Yvonne Whipple of Youngstown, credits Gabe Bubon, an assistant coach at Point Park and a native of Warren, for bringing him to the college on a basketball scholarship after Whipple completed his Marine Corps duties.
"I wanted to complete my education and I knew Gabe from before. I used to play [basketball] everywhere in Warren and Champion, and I met him a few times before, but I wasn't ready then for college," said Whipple, noting that he wasn't sure what he wanted to do after graduating from Calvary Christian where he was a two-year starter and point guard and made All-Ohio under coach Donald Colvin. "I went to the Marine Corps at the time. I wasn't ready for college. I went there when I got out of high school."
Then after leaving the Marine Corps, "I re-introduced myself to [Bubon] two summers ago at South Fieldhouse, where I was playing in a [basketball] league. My buddy Jerry Stanford of [Woodrow] Wilson introduced me to him. He and coach Bubon are best friends, and Jerry and I also are good friends. Coach Bubon asked me if I wanted to come here when he [already had become] an assistant coach."
Bubon is a former Warren Harding and Point Park basketball player who now is assisting coach Bob Rager.
Whipple is the team leader
Whipple said his main role with the Point Park team is to lead the squad. "They look [to] me for everything pretty much. I try to be a leader. They look up to me as a leader," said Whipple, who has made 149-for-262 (56.9 percent) from the field and 109-for-130 (83.8 percent) from the foul line through 19 games.
"Everyone on the team knows that when it comes to crunch time, I am going to get the ball," he said. "That is a tremendous honor for me because we have three or four guys who can take over the game [as well]."
But, "They place it on me because I have been doing it a lot longer and they value my trust. They run their plays and give me the ball."
Last season, Whipple led Point Park to the American Mideast Conference North Division championship. He also was a first-team All-AMC North selection and was named AMC North Newcomer of the Year. He led the AMC in scoring (24) and was second in rebounding (11.1).
Whipple is on a basketball scholarship because he is saving his free college education provided to him under the GI Bill.
Wants to help youth
"I am going to use that for my master's program when I graduate," said Whipple, who has high hopes of eventually coming back to Youngstown and hopefully using his education and ideas about helping young people to make a big difference in the lives of inner city youth.
"You never know," said Whipple when asked if he might some day establish a self-development center for Youngstown's inner city youth.
"I want to help young guys everywhere, especially around the Youngstown area, and guide them in the right direction so that they know that they have to behave themselves and be masters of their own destiny."
That is a noble ambition because if Whipple could do that, he could save the hopes and dreams and lives of hundreds and perhaps thousands of misguided youth.
As it is now, many of Youngstown's children are being corrupted by the drug culture and murdered in gun battles instead of enjoying Whipple's life of enlightenment, education and actualization of potential.
And if Whipple could discover those redeeming virtues, so could other inner-city youth.