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Citadel Notes: Former Bulldog standout Preston Parks' return to Charleston must wait

Preston Parks Citadel (copy)

Former Citadel guard and 2016-17 SoCon freshman of the year Preston Parks is sitting out this season after transferring from Tennessee-Martin to Samford. Provided/Citadel Athletics 

Preston Parks' tour of mid-major basketball programs has taken him from The Citadel to Tennessee-Martin and now to Samford, which plays Saturday at McAlister Field House.

But Parks, the Southern Conference freshman of the year while at The Citadel in 2016-17, will have to wait another season before playing against his former team.

The 6-2 guard is sitting out this season after his waiver request for immediate eligibility was denied by the NCAA. He will not be with the Samford team for Saturday's 1 p.m. game at The Citadel, a Samford spokesman said. Parks plans to play next season for Samford.

Parks averaged 18.1 points per game for The Citadel in 2016-17, ranking fourth in the SoCon in scoring. He actually led the league in scoring in conference games, averaging 22.1 points in 15 SoCon games while becoming the first Citadel player since Cameron Wells in 2007-08 to win the freshman of the year award.

Citadel coach Duggar Baucom dismissed Parks from the team just six games into his sophomore season, when he was averaging 13.8 points per game. Parks then transferred to Tennessee-Martin, where he averaged 10.9 points in 28 games in 2018-19 before transferring again to Samford.

For 65 games in his college career, Parks is averaging 14.3 points on 38.5 percent shooting, including 34.5 percent from 3-point range.

Both Samford (8-19, 2-11) and The Citadel (6-18, 0-13) are struggling this season, with Samford riding an 11-game losing streak and The Citadel on a 13-game skid. Samford won the team's earlier matchup by 69-68 on Jan. 1 as The Citadel blew a nine-point lead with just 2:29 left in the game.

The Citadel's 13-game skid is the program's longest since the 2013-14 team lost 17 straight. The team The Citadel beat to snap that streak: Samford.

Citadel freshman Fletcher Abee has scored in double figures in nine of his last 11 games and is shooting a team-best 38.9 percent from 3-point range.

Weight room renovation

The Citadel's $370,000 renovation of the weight room at Seignious Hall is nearing completion, with new paint and décor, equipment, flooring, performance technology, and office and storage space for a staff of six. The facility showcases the military school's partnership with Adidas, as well as performance brands in Sorinex, PLAE, Iron Grip and Intek.

An anonymous donor kick-started the renovation with a gift of $75,000, and The Citadel Brigadier Foundation contributed another $250,000. A final fund-raising campaign led by assistant athletic director for strength and conditioning Donnell Boucher raised some $45,000 from 175 donors, many of them young alumni.

"This project could not have happened without our alumni. Everyone got serious when it became a possibility," said Boucher. "We have always been fortunate to have strong support from our fan base. It was nice to see so many young alumni involved. Most of these people trained under me over the past 12 years and have plenty of other priorities in their young lives. I continue to be inspired by their support. Our alumni make this job special for me."

Ranked wrestler

Citadel wrestler Dazjon Casto, a sophomore from Fort Dorchester High School, is ranked No. 26 in the 165-pound class in the latest NCAA Division I RPI rankings. He's one of only two SoCon wrestlers ranked in the top 33 of his weight class.

Casto is 21-10 this season, including a 6-2 record in dual matches. The Bulldogs host Chattanooga on Sunday at McAlister Field House.

Reach Jeff Hartsell at 843-937-5596. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_fromthePC

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