Here’s a look of each Arizona high school and junior college recruiting class since Fred Snowden was hired in 1972 and how the Wildcats fared three years later (future NBA draft picks are italicized, transfers from other programs such as Chris Mills and recruits who never played at Arizona, i.e. Brandon Jennings are not included):
Head coach: Fred Snowden
1972: Ron Allen, Dave Burns, Al Fleming, John Irving, Eric Money, Coniel Norman, Jim Rappis and James Wakefield. Three years later (1974-75): The UA finishes 22-7 and is selected to the National Commissioner’s Invitational Tournament. Money, Norman, Fleming and Rappis are the best foursome recruiting class the Wildcats have ever amassed based on pure talent. Rating (scale 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest): 9.
Fred Snowden’s first two recruiting classes at Arizona included seven NBA draft picks
1973: Bob Aleksa, Bob Elliott, Jerome Gladney, Len Gordy, Herman Harris, Gary Harrison and Steve Kanner. Three years later (1975-76): The UA finishes 24-9, wins the WAC title and loses in the 1976 Elite Eight to UCLA. Elliott is the UA’s career scoring leader before Sean Elliott (no relation) breaks his record. Herman Harris’ scoring average might have increased by four points if a three-point line exists back then. Rating: 8.
1974: Tom Ehlmann, Mitch Jones, Tim Marshall, Gilbert Myles, Phil Taylor. Three years later (1976-77): The UA finishes 21-6 and loses in the first round of the 1977 NCAA tournament (the last time the UA made the NCAA tournament under Snowden). Rating: 4.
1975: Larry Demic, Ron Fuller, Brian Jung and Sylvester Maxey. Three years later 1977-78): The UA finishes 15-11. Demic is a first-round draft pick in 1979. Rating: 6.
1976: Kenny Davis, Joe Nehls and Tommy Williams. Three years later (1978-79): The UA finishes 16-11, the last time the Wildcats have a winning record for six years. Nehls becomes one of the best pure perimeter shooters in Arizona history. Rating: 3.
1977: Russell Brown, Robbie Dosty, Steve Lake and John Smith. Three years later (1979-80): The UA finishes 12-15. Brown remains the school’s career leader in assists with 810 (no other player has more than 700). Dosty becomes a fourth-round draft pick. Rating: 5.
1978: John Belobraydic, Ray Donnelly, Greg Hawthorne, John Hutcherson, Donald Mellon, Charles Miller and Michael Zeno. Three years later (1980-81): The UA finishes 13-14. Hawthorne, Mellon and Zeno are highly-regarded recruits but nothing materializes from this group.Rating: 3.
1979: Ron Davis, David Mosebar, Frank Smith Jr. and Leon Wood. Three years later (1981-82): The UA finishes 9-18 in Snowden’s last season. Wood transfers to Cal State-Fullerton after his freshman year and is later drafted in the first round. After extremely impressive recruiting classes his first couple of seasons, Snowden never really sustains that level of success and the UA gradually declines. This class is good, however, with Davis, Smith and Wood. Rating: 7.
1980: Jeff Collins, Greg Cook and Ricky Walker. Three years later (1982-83): The UA finishes 4-24 in Ben Lindsey’s only season at Arizona. None of these recruits are around for that debacle. Rating: 1.
1981: Brock Brunkhorst, Mark Jung, Jack Magno and John Vlahogeorge. Three years later (1983-84): The UA finishes 11-17 in Olson’s first season. The only player from this class on Olson’s first team is Brunkhorst. Rating: 1.