Lute's Recruits: 1989

1989 saw Lute Olson starting to attract more big name players. Seven footer Ed Stokes came in with a lot of hype, while Chris Mills became the second straight McDonald's All-American to transfer into the program.

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.


At the time it looked to be a very balanced class. It had to inside players and three wings. Olson continued to mine Southern California but also tapped the Midwest and invited local product Deron Johnson to be a part of the program.

The Class

Kevin Flanagan 6-9, F, Del Mar, Torrey Pines
Deron Johnson 6-6, SF Tucson Sunnyside
Chris Mills 6-7 SF Los Angeles Fairfax/Kentucky
Casey Schmidt 6-5, Valparaiso
Ed Stokes 6-11 Playa del Rey, St. Bernard's

The Stats:
Retention Rate: 60%
Starts: 166
NBA Players: Two

Kevin Flanagan
Flanagan never made a huge splash on the court but was a huge fan favorite. A knee injury slowed his career but he became a huge fan favorite, including being named homecoming king one year.

While Flanagan was mostly a late game reserve, he did play a bigger role on the 1994 Final Four team. He started seven games that year and averaged 12.7 minutes a game as the primary back-up to Joseph Blair. He averaged just 1.7 ppg and 2.4 rpg over his 66 game Wildcat career.

Despite being a career reserve, Flanagan did play overseas in Ireland before calling it quits to work for the Oakley Sunglasses. He is a businessman in Southern California and is married to ESPN reporter Alex Flanagan.

Deron Johnson
Johnson was the second Tucsonan offered a scholarship by Olson, and to date, the last. Johnson's career will be remembered for one big game against NAU his freshman year.

Johnson was suspended from the team with academic issues and wound up finishing his college career at a small school outside of Atlanta.

Chris Mills
After one year at Kentucky, Mills transferred to Arizona and became a three-year starter averaging 17.2 ppg. He started all 94 games that he played in a Wildcat uniform.

Mills was a much decorated performer before, during and after his Arizona career. Mills was a McDonald's, USA Today and Parade All-American as a prep player at Fairfax HS in Los Angeles. At Arizona he was the 1990 MVP of the Preseason NIT. Mills was named to six All-American teams over the course of his career. He was named Pac-10 Player of the Year in 1992-93. He averaged 20.9 points and 7.9 rebounds his senior season and led the team in five statistical categories. He finished his career with 1,619 points and ranks in the school's top 10 in eight different career statistical categories. He posted double figure scoring totals in his last 46 games and collected 30 double-doubles.

Mills was a first round draft pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers and played 10 seasons in the NBA. Mills averaged 11.2 ppg playing for the Cavs, Knicks and Warriors. His best season came in 1996 when he averaged 15.1 points and 5.5 rebounds in 80 games with Cleveland. Mills also operates a automotive customizing shop that is reknown for its celebrity clientele. Mills also had a brief role in the movie Blue Chips.

Casey Schmidt
Schmidt was a hot shooting guard from Indiana who was best know for his post Arizona career. Schmidt played in 54 games over two seasons with the Wildcats. A great outside shooter, Schmidt averaged just 2.4 ppg.

Knowing he'd never be more than a role player at Arizona, Schmidt transferred back to his hometown college, Valparaiso. Schmidt was named to the Mid-Continent All-Newcomer and Second Team All-Conference team after the 92-93 season. That season Schmidt was 13th in the nation in three-point shooting with a 47.7% average. He also finished fourth in the nation in free throw shooting as a junior (89.7%). The next season he finished third, making 92.6% of his foul shots.

Schmidt had a lengthy pro career overseas in Germany, France and Italy.

Ed Stokes
Stokes was a four-year contributor for the Wildcats, starting 65 of the 121 games he played in. Despite being a solid center, Stokes has become one of the most maligned players by the fans in the Olson era. With his great height and nice athleticism, many felt that the easy going Stokes never maximized his potential.

Stokes' senior season came close to being the one the fans wanted. He averaged 11.5 ppg and 7.7 rebounds. For his career Stokes averaged 8.1 points and 5.3 rebounds.

Stokes was a second round draft pick of the Miami Heat in 1993 but did not make his NBA debut until 1998 when he played in four games with the Toronto Raptors. Stokes was actually the property of the Heat, Sonics and Bullets, but never saw any regular season time with the clubs. He spent most of his pro career in Europe, mostly in Greece and Italy. He joined Mills in the movie Blue Chips.

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