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Canisius fills out basketball coaching staff

Two men with ties to UB and one in tune with the Canadian basketball scene will join Reggie Witherspoon’s men’s basketball staff at Canisius, the college announced Friday.

Chris Hawkins and Larry Blunt will come aboard as assistant coaches while Jake Kroll fills the role of director of basketball operations.

Hawkins served as an assistant on Witherspoon’s University at Buffalo staff from 2000-2007, a time when the Bulls rose from Mid-American Conference doormat to title contender. He most recently served as an assistant at Radford, his alma mater, during a five-year span in which Highlanders scored victories over the likes of Georgetown, Oregon State and Penn State.

Blunt was the head coach at Orangeville Prep in Mono, Ont., the last three seasons and had 12 players advance to play at the NCAA Division I level. That group include guard Jamal Murray, selected seventh overall by Denver out of Kentucky in the recent NBA Draft. Blunt also has worked with two new Canisius recruits, Selvedin Planincic and Dantai St. Louis.

Kroll spent last season as an assistant coach to Mike MacDonald at Daemen. The season before that, he worked with the coaching staff at Alabama, where Witherspoon was an assistant. Kroll is a Lancaster native who served as a student manager for men’s basketball while earning his degree at UB.