DAVIS (CBS13) — One of the top 100 players in the nation as ranked by CBS Sports is playing at UC Davis this season.

Corey Hawkins has one of the smoothest strokes from beyond the arc and gets to the hoop as well as anyone.

Hawkins is ranked No. 80, but if you ask him, he doesn’t seem to care all that much.

“I was the last one to find out,” he said. “I am always the last one to find out when I get some kind of accolade. I can’t pay any attention to it.”

He might not be, but national writers are taking notice of the UC Davis basketball program, a team that two seasons ago won only four games.

So why would one of the country’s top recruits choose UC Davis?

“Recruiting is about relationships, and fortunately I have a really good relationship with his dad,” said UC Davis men’s basketball coach Jim Les.

Like Les, Hawkins’ dad—Hersey Hawkins—is a fellow NBA player. The two played in college together and remained good friends as the elder Hawkins became one of the best scorers in the league.

So when Les took the job at UC Davis, one of his first calls was to Hersey, and Corey was more than willing to suit up for his father’s friend.

“I think guys get caught up in going to big name schools for all the flashy accessories and whatnot, but at the end of the day, you have to go somewhere you can play,” Corey Hawkins said.

He’s more than lived up to expectations, leading the Aggies in scoring with 20 points per game and helping Davis notch 14 wins in his first year on the team.

“When the lights are the brightest, he’s at his best,” Les said. “When the competition is the toughest, he’s at his best.”

He may have found his way to Davis because of his dad, but Corey is ready to get out of his father’s shadow and show the world what the next Hawkins can do on the court.

“I just wanted to challenge myself to set myself apart from him,” he said. “I know people like to compare us a lot, but I am my own player.”

The Aggies will open their season at Portland State on Friday.


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