Aubrey Dawkins and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rakhman were part of the same 2014 recruiting class at Michigan and lived together during their time in Ann Arbor.
They were on opposite benches Wednesday at the NBA Summer League.
“That was fun,” Dawkins said after his Pelicans earned a 99-78 win over Abdur-Rakhman’s Cavaliers. “He’s my man. We talk, but there’s no trash talk. We’re both on the same journey right now so it’s all in fun.”
Dawkins transferred from Michigan and played his final collegiate season at UCF. He declared for last month’s draft with one season of eligibility remaining, but wasn’t selected and signed a one-year deal with New Orleans.
Abdur-Rakhman’s career at Michigan wrapped up with a loss to Villanova in the 2018 NCAA championship game. He is the school’s all-time leader in games played, though he went undrafted and played with the Cavaliers-affiliated Canton Charge of the G-League.
Now he is playing for Cleveland in the Summer League and hoping for a reunion with former Michigan coach John Beilein in the NBA.
“Having him there makes it a little more comfortable and puts me a little bit more at ease,” he said.
Beilein was courtside for the reunion game on Wednesday and Abdur-Rakhman got the satisfaction of knowing which side the coach that recruited both of them was rooting for in the game.
“I was definitely messing with (Dawkins) a little bit telling him Coach B still likes me a little bit more,” he laughed.
He added Dawkins would be the one buying dinner after his Pelicans earned the blowout victory.
“It’s just fun to play against him for the first time in a real game,” Abdur-Rakhman said. “It’s so cool to see guys I went to war with back in college out on the floor in the NBA.”