Sons of ex-Tigers shining
By Jason Smith, Commercial Appeal
June 30, 2006
The two dads have sat side by side over the past week in basketball gymnasiums across the city, watching their sons, Bobby Parks Jr. and Brian Douglas, play a game that was at one time their fathers' livelihood. "Is that your boy, No. 41?" a father from the opposing team asks former Memphis State basketball standout Bobby Parks, who was sitting alongside another former Tiger, Anthony Douglas, on Thursday afternoon in the Neighborhood Christian Center gym in North Memphis.
Then the man, Robert Joy of Dayton, Ohio, recognizes Parks, a Grand Junction, Tenn., native who 22 years after his collegiate career still ranks among the Tigers' top 16 all-time leading scorers. "You had that bank shot," Joy added, looking to Parks for affirmation.
"Nah. That was (Phillip) 'Doom' (Haynes)," Parks replied, obviously unoffended.
With their basketball careers at Memphis and overseas now behind them, Parks and Douglas would rather that their sons, who are playing in this week's Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) 13-and-under Division 1 national tournament, get the attention.
"I have an older kid who played a little high school ball, but at that time I was gone all the time overseas, especially during the season, so I didn't get a chance to see him play other than in pick-up games," said Parks, who following his collegiate career at Memphis (1980-84) spent more than 15 years playing professionally out of the Philippines, where his son, Parks Jr., was born.
"But this one, I've seen him all the way up, and he's just grown real fast. ... He's going to be better than me. He's going to be taller, and he can shoot the 3 and put it on the floor."
Parks' son, who goes by his father's middle name, Ray, is a legit 6-2, and, at 13 years old, weighs between 180-190 pounds. He already wears size 14 shoes, just like his dad.
"I'll do anything to get that respect that my dad has," says Ray, who came to Memphis from the Philippines in April and will enroll in the eighth grade this fall at a to-be-determined area school. "I want to go to the pros."
As does Anthony Douglas' son, Brian, a slashing 6-0 guard with a knack for rebounding like his dad, the former East High McDonald's All-American who played center at the UofM from 1990-93.
"It's really tense watching (Brian) play, but it's a lot of fun also," said Douglas, whose professional career included stops in Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Argentina.
"My oldest son plays basketball a little bit, but he's more into football. (Brian) is the first one that's really following in my footsteps, and at this age, he's more into basketball than I was at 13. He's more passionate about it, so I've tried to teach him little techniques, like going to the (free-throw) line and squaring your body."
Brian, also 13, said Thursday he believes he's due a growth spurt. His father was listed at 6-7 during his senior season at the UofM, though Douglas is probably closer to 6-5.
"I just love the game," said Brian, a rising eighth-grader at Holy Rosary School in Memphis. "When my dad used to play overseas, sometimes I'd go with him, and I'd try to copy everything he'd do."
The duo's 13-and-under Memphis YOMCA coach, Keith Easterwood, believes Brian's game more closely resembles his father's than that of Ray, whose father, Parks, was more of a slasher and a leaper.
"Brian's more like his dad because he's a physical guy," Easterwood said. "Ray is not like his dad because Bobby was a garbage guy and a defensive stopper. Ray's been taught the game from a different style by living in the Philippines. He's more of a scorer and a finesse guy. He's a skill guy."
On Thursday, Ray and Brian's Memphis YOMCA team, one that includes talented guard Terrence Durham (Treadwell), dropped an 83-77 overtime decision to the Southwest Illinois Jets in the first round of the Division 1 national tournament despite 16 points from Ray.
YOMCA, which had finished second in pool play this week to advance to Thursday's first round, will play today at 5:05 p.m. in a loser's bracket game at American Way Middle.
"They've played well," Douglas said. "Playing AAU basketball in the summertime, I think that's where I developed a lot as a person and as a player, getting to play against a lot of different players. ... I just want them to have fun this summer."
Parks agreed, adding that he wouldn't be disappointed in the least should his son -- whom he calls a better ballhandler and a better shooter than himself -- not follow in his footsteps and play professionally.
"I never pushed (Ray)," Parks said. "I just told him to make sure he gets an education. If he stays out of trouble and finishes school, he'll have made me a happy father."
-- Jason Smith: 901-529-5804