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“Where are they now?” Duke basketball edition: Cherokee Parks

The Blue Zone will be running a summer series bringing you the latest on some of Duke basketball’s former stars. This week, The Blue Zone takes a look at Cherokee Parks.

In Cherokee Parks' four-year career with the Blue Devils, he was a member of some of the best and worst Duke teams of the 1990s. Although Parks never lived up to his immense potential in the NBA, he still had memorable moments both at Duke and after his time in school was up.

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Parks came to Duke for the 1991-92 season, after the Blue Devils took home the title in the 1991 season by defeating Kansas. With forwards Christian Laettner and Brian Davis returning to the team for their senior seasons, Parks' role as a freshman was limited. The big man from Huntington Beach, Calif. did start three games for Duke during his first season in Durham, averaging 5.0 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. In the national championship game against Michigan, Parks logged 13 minutes and scored four points as the Blue Devils captured back-to-back national titles.

With Laettner and Davis out of the picture, Parks emerged as a fixture in Duke's starting lineup as a sophomore, when he averaged 12.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game and shot a career-best 65.2 percent from the floor. He further improved his game as a junior, upping his scoring and rebounding totals to 14.4 points and 8.4 rebounds. Parks also averaged 2.2 blocks per game, the best mark of his career.

Parks was named a captain for his senior season, but after a 9-3 start, head coach Mike Krzyzewski was forced to leave the team and missed the rest of the season after suffering complications from back surgery. The Blue Devils finished 13-18, missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1983. Parks still posted the best season of his career. In addition to averaging 19.0 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, he added a 3-point shot to his repertoire, shooting 36.5 percent from beyond the arc. Parks was named Second Team All-ACC for the second consecutive season following the conclusion of the 1994-95 season.

Following his collegiate career, Parks was selected with the 12th pick in the 1995 draft by the Dallas Mavericks. Parks started his NBA career as a solid role player for the Mavericks, making three starts and averaging 3.9 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, but at the end of his rookie season he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

His first year in Minnesota greatly resembled his rookie season, but Parks' third year in the NBA would be his best in his nine-year NBA career. The big man started 43 games for the Timberwolves, scoring 7.1 points per game to go along with 5.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. After his breakout season, Parks again was on the move.

After signing as a free agent with the Vancouver Grizzlies, Parks claimed a starting role with his new club. Though he averaged a respectable 5.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, he was limited to just 48 games played. His next season Parks only played 56 games, starting 14.

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After two years in Vancouver, Parks never was able to settle down with a single team. He split the 2000-2001 season between the Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Clippers. Parks played three more seasons for three different teams, never playing more than 42 contests in a single season, before leaving the NBA.

In his time away from the game, Parks returned home to Huntington Beach to start his career as a businessman. He owned a club in Huntington Beach called The Brigg, which he staffed with other Huntington Beach natives. A punk rock club that embraced the genre's history in the area, The Brigg didn't succeed. It was reopened under the name Blue Cafe, but eventually closed for good.

Parks' name recently resurfaced when he agreed to a contract with Aubenas, a fourth division team in France, in 2011. It is currently unclear whether or not Parks will continue to play with Aubenas or whether he will once again leave the game of basketball.


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