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Missouri's Buffalo connection

Being in Buffalo for the NCAA Tournament brings back fond memories for Missouri associate head coach Melvin Watkins, who was a fourth-round pick of the Braves in the 1977 NBA draft.

Watkins only spent a year in the NBA before going into coaching, but he recalled having to play with the likes of Bob McAdoo and Randy Smith if only for a brief period.

"Being from North Carolina like McAdoo (Greensboro) and playing in his summer league, I could identify with him,'' said Watkins, a Reidsville native who was the starting point guard on the Cornbread Maxwell-led UNC-Charlotte team that reached the 1977 Final Four. "But the person who really stood out to me was Randy Smith. When I got here, he just kind of took me under his wing and embraced me. Here's this pro dealing with a rookie and making me feel like I was part of the team. That really stuck with me.''

---Allen Wilson

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