A frontcourtman who produced modest statistics in three seasons at Temple, 6-9 Mark Strickland spent the bulk of pro career in the CBA and USBL before signing with the Miami Heat as a free agent for 1996-97. His only prior NBA experience was a pair of 10-day contracts with the Indiana Pacers during his rookie season.
Ineligible to compete during his first year at Temple, Strickland improved from 5.0 ppg and 5.2 rpg in 1989-90 to 7.7 ppg and 6.9 rpg in 1990-91 and 9.8 ppg and 6.0 rpg in 1991-92.
Not drafted by an NBA franchise, he spent the summer of 1992 with the Philadelphia Spirit of the USBL and was waived in training camp by the Atlanta Hawks. He also played in the USBL with Atlanta in 1993 and 1994, and with Atlantic City in 1996.
Playing in 44 games with the Fort Wayne Fury of the CBA in 1994-95, Strickland averaged 16.1 ppg and 7.3 rpg, shooting .588 from the field. He was signed by the NBA's Indiana Pacers to the first of two consecutive 10-day contracts on March 4, 1995. He appeared in four games with the Pacers, scoring three points and grabbing four rebounds, before his second contract expired and he was not resigned.
He returned to the CBA for 1995-96, playing in 56 games for the Yakima Sun Kings and averaging 12.9 ppg and 7.8 rpg.
He signed with the NBA's Miami Heat on Oct. 3, 1996 and spent all but five days of the 1996-97 season on the Heat's roster. He was waived on Jan. 7 but then re-signed on Jan. 12. He played a total of 31 games in a reserve role for the Heat, seeing only limited game action.
Strickland got a bit more playing time in his second season in Miami, playing in 51 games and making eight starts while contributing 6.8 points and 4.2 rebounds in 16.6 minutes per game. His playing time and productivity fell off in 1998-99 as he made 32 appearances and averaged 3.7 points and 2.4 rebounds in 11.2 minutes per game.
1999-2000 REGULAR SEASON
Scored 12 points (5-6 FG) in a 110-92 victory over Boston on 11/20
1998-1999 REGULAR SEASON
Scored 12 points, on 6-of-6 field-goal shooting, against the Chicago Bulls on 5/1
Registered 13 points (6-8 FG) and 4 rebounds in a 91-83 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on 2/24
1997-1998 REGULAR SEASON
Registered 13 points and 9 rebounds against the Washington Wizards on 4/17
Posted 16 points and a team-high 9 rebounds against the San Antonio Spurs on 4/2
Matched his career-high with 23 points (11-13 FG), grabbed 13 rebounds and added 4 assists in a 105-91 win over the Boston Celtics on 3/25
Recorded a career-high 23 points (11-14 FG) and 4 rebounds in a 112-80 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on 3/22
Totaled 13 points (6-8 FG), 3 rebounds and 3 assists in a 97-74 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on 3/12
Scored 14 points (5-7 FG, 4-4 FT) in an 85-84 victory over the New Jersey Nets on 3/1
Registered 10 points and 10 rebounds in a 91-72 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on 2/26
On the injured list from 1/19 to 2/23 due to a longitudinal fracture of the right index finger
Posted a team-high 20 points (7-10 FG, 6-6 FT) and 6 rebounds, in 16 minutes, in a 117-97 win over the Boston Celtics on 12/5
Made his first career NBA start, recording 9 points and 8 rebounds, in a 108-104 victory over the Toronto Raptors on 11/22
Totaled 12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocked shots in a 114-101 victory over the Toronto Raptors on 10/31
1996-1997 REGULAR SEASON
Strickland spent nearly all of 1996-97 on the Miami roster. He made the team in preseason and was on the roster until Jan. 7, when he was waived. But five days later the Heat released Tony Farmer and re-signed Strickland, and he was with them for the rest of the season.
He played in a total of 31 games as a reserve but logged only 153 minutes. He averaged 2.0 points and 1.2 rebounds in 4.9 minutes. He scored a career-high 11 points in a 102-94 win at Boston on Jan. 16 in his first action since he was re-signed, and matched that figure in the season finale, a 102-88 win at Orlando in which he played a season-high 25 minutes as Coach Pat Riley rested several regulars. He grabbed a career-high four rebounds in that game at Orlando and also in a 94-75 win at Vancouver on Nov. 20.
He played in four playoff games for Miami, scoring eight points and grabbing three rebounds in a total of 16 minutes.
1995-1996 REGULAR SEASON
In his second CBA season, Strickland played in 56 games for the Yakima Sun Kings, making 32 starts.
He averaged 12.9 ppg while shooting .533 from the field and .645 from the foul line and tied Kendrick Warren for the team lead with 7.8 rpg. His 439 total rebounds were the most on the club.
In the summer of 1996 he played for the Atlantic City Seagulls of the USBL, averaging 18.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg and 2.2 apg in 24 games, all but two of them starts. He was named to the All-USBL Second Team and the All-USBL Defensive Team.
Strickland was signed by the NBA's Miami Heat as a free agent for the 1996-97 season.