We are going to look at classes based on a number of criteria. Some of the things we will look at include how well they played at Arizona, how many players were retained and how many players in each class made the NBA.
Talk about instant impact. Anthony Cook and Sean Elliot started from day-one and Kenny Lofton was a four-year contributor. Add to that a steady reserve and you have a class that ranks among the best.
Anthony Cook 6-8, PF, Los Angeles, CA; Van Nuys HS
Eric Cooper 6-3 SG Los Angeles, CA; Banning HS
Brian David 6-8 PF Templeton, IA; Keumper HS
Sean Elliott, 6-7 SF Tucson, AZ; Cholla HS
Kenny Lofton 5-11 PG East Chicago, IN; Washington HS
Bruce Wheatley 6-8 La Puente, CA; Nogales HS
Retention Rate: 66%
NBA Players: Two (plus Kenny Lofton was a pro baseball player)
Cook gets a bit overshadowed by Elliott’s successes but he had a stellar career in his own right. He’s started all but ten games in his career and is still the school’s all time shot blocker. Cook was a two time All-Pac-10 player and a key player on the 1988 Final Four team.
Cook averaged 12.0 ppg with a high of 17.5 his senior season. He averaged 6.5 ppg, but after his freshman season he never averaged less than seven boards a game.
Cook was a late first round draft pick of the Suns but never played for the franchise. He played four seasons in the NBA suiting up for Denver, Orlando, Portland and Milwaukee. He was never more than a role player averaging 3.6 points and 3.7 rebounds a game. His rookie season with the Nuggets was his finest when he averaged 5.3 ppg and 5.6 rpg.
Cooper was a promising recruit who was never happy with his role at Arizona. He played in 25 games as a freshman but averaged just 1.4 ppg. He played in six games as a sophomore before transferring out of the program.
David was a solid bench player for the Cats over his four year career. After redshirting his first year he played in 83 games, but started just four. An injury cost him his sophomore season. He had nice offensive moves but was not mobile enough to be a great defender which limited his opportunity to play more.
He scored a career high 10 points on three occasions and averaged just 2.3 ppg a game for his career.
David, or “Moose” as he was known as a player, served as a grad assistant in 1991-92.
Arguably the best player in school history, Elliott is the player that put the Cats on the map. He the national Player of the Year by six different services including CBS and the Wooden Award Committee.
The 6-8 small forward stayed home in Tucson and led his hometown team to their first Final Four. He was a two time All-American as well as a two time Pac-10 player of the year. He led the Wildcats in scoring all four years he played in Tucson and is still the school’s all-time leading scorer.
He started 133 games for the Wildcats and averaged 19.2 ppg and 6.1 rpg.
He was a first round draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs and played 12 seasons in the NBA, 11 for the Spurs. He may best be known for his dramatic game winner in the NBA playoffs that has been dubbed the “Memorial Day Miracle”. He continued his NBA career after receiving a kidney transplant. He was a two time All-Star and averaged 14.2 ppg in his career.
Few Wildcat players have had as good a pro career as Lofton. The only thing is that Lofton has excelled in pro baseball, not pro basketball. Lofton was a speedy guard known for his quick hands. He had 200 steals for the Wildcats fourth all time for the Cats, though he was the school’s all-time leader when he graduated.
He had a solid career, playing in 129 games, starting all 33 as a senior. He averaged just 4.8 points a game, with a best of 6.4 his sophomore season when he started 21 games for an injured Steve Kerr.
Lofton is in his 15th season in the Major Leagues. He has played for eight franchises and is hitting .297 for his career.
Big bodied center who left the program before the start of the 1986-87 season. Wheatley played in 21 games as a freshman. The 6-8, 250-pound big man was an intimidating presence on the court.
“He’s the biggest thing I’ve ever seen taking off a warm-up,” said Steve Kerr in the 1986 media guide.
Wheatley transferred to Texas-San Antonio and was drafted by the Pensacola in the 1990 CBA draft.