Parker Fox on returning for 8th year with Gophers: 'It seemed like a no-brainer'

Parker Fox transferred to the Gophers’ men’s basketball team two years ago after earning All-American honors at Division II Northern State.

It was his full expectation that he would probably play only one year, and move onto life after college. Then, his college career got briefly derailed by two knee injuries. After playing 34 games last year and averaging 5.1 points and 2.9 rebounds per game, Fox is returning for his seventh year of college at Minnesota. Sparing the "grandpa" and "Van Wilder" jokes, Fox will turn 26 next February.

"Probably makes me the oldest guy in college basketball, we’re going to have to fact check that. It’s wild, man," Fox said. "I wouldn’t change it for anything, it’s a part of my story."

Fox is known for much more than what you see on the stat sheet. He’s become a fan-favorite by bringing energy, making hustle plays, athletic dunks and calling on fans to energize the team.

He started entertaining the idea of returning for one more year after the Gophers lost at Nebraska in February. He participated in Senior Night at Williams Arena, not yet knowing what his future held.

He made that decision after Dawson Garcia announced his official return, and several talks with coach Ben Johnson.

"Just the communication with Ben was great, just getting me to a place where I was comfortable with coming back next year," Fox said. "I’m going to be 26 this year, just needed to get to a place where I felt really comfortable and we were able to get to that spot. It seemed like a no-brainer to come back and be around family, friends and wear this ‘M’ on my chest."

He also took plenty of time to enjoy his offseason before summer workouts. He vacationed in Mexico, and supported his girlfriend, Taylor Heise, on her run with PWHL Minnesota to a championship.

"Obviously following Taylor’s PWHL success was awesome. I got to go out to Boston for Game 5 and watch her win the finals and win the MVP, super cool," Fox said. "Definitely something where I’m super glad I did it, you don’t get to have those moments all the time."

He’s also an intern at KFAN Radio, and found his spotlight on the station’s pre and post game coverage as the Minnesota Timberwolves made a run to the Western Conference Finals. Fox even found himself shirtless the night the Timberwolves beat the Nuggets in Game 7 to advance in the playoffs for the first time in 20 years.

"I had a lot of fun obviously growing with KFAN and those guys over there and doing and pre and post game with the Wolves," Fox said.

Now, Fox is the veteran and one of the leaders as the Gophers try to mesh eight new faces on the roster for the 2024-25 season.