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Hawkins returns to UB

For seven years Chris Hawkins sat alongside Reggie Witherspoon on the bench at UB. He was right beside him during the rough years when the Bulls won just 26 games over a four-year span. He was instrumental in signing recruits like Turner Battle, Mark Bortz, Danny Gilbert, Jason Bird and Calvin Cage who all helped turn the program from also-ran into respectable.

That's why it was so hard for Witherspoon to watch Hawkins sitting on the bench as an assistant at Tulane. Hawkins left UB last June to join Dave Dickerson's staff with the Green Wave.

"It was tough leading up to the game," said Witherspoon, whose team defeated Tulane, 65-51, for its first win over a Conference USA opponent. "We usually talk a couple of times a week and I'm sure it was strange for him to be on the other end of the bench. His family is here so emotionally that was real difficult. ... Before and after the game was the most difficult part, but I'm glad it's over with."

--Dickerson's comment about Sean Smiley's 26-point outburst being, "probably one of the better games I've seen in college basketball," is high praise considering:

-He recruited All-American guard Steve Francis and NBA draft picks Chris Wilcox, Juan Dixon and Steve Blake.

--Played with the late Len Bias at Maryland who some say was perhaps the greatest to ever play in the ACC.

That's enough admiration to give any kid a confidence boost.

--Rodney McKissic

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