SI Vault
November 26, 1973
Here they stand, on pedestals. The wonder is that there are not two to a column, so packed has the elite of college basketball become. To those who have followed the game over the past few eons, it is no surprise that UCLA again is the choice. What does come as a shocker is that the old Bruin assistant, Denny Crum, now head coach of Louisville (rated sixth), thinks that any of 10 teams can lay hold to the title this year. There is solid reason for this judgment: Competition is stiffer than before and so are the schedules of the major colleges, including UCLA's. As scouting reports on the following pages show, not only are high schools sending up bigger and better-trained players, but an ever-increasing number of coaches are stressing conditioning. Where once it was hard to find 20 logical contenders, it is now difficult to limit the choice to 30. Fanning over the country to weigh the teams' chances are Curry Kirkpatrick on the Pacific Coast; Barry McDermott, Mike DelNagro and Susan Adams in the South; Kent Hannon, Larry Keith and Don Delliquanti in the Midwest and Southwest; Jim Kaplan and Angel Reyes in the East; and, for the small colleges, William White.
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November 26, 1973

The Top Twenty

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For Maryland to get there, it will have to replace graduated Jim O'Brien and Bob Bodell. Junior Owen Brown was slated to fill O'Brien's wing spot. He is quick and 6'8", but he injured a foot in preseason workouts and will not return until the very start of the season. McMillen has moved outside in the interim, allowing young Tom Roy a chance at a starting position down deep with Elmore. And Jap Trimble, who is experienced, will fill Bodell's guard slot if he can regain his form of two years ago following knee surgery last season. If not, Maurice Howard will play there.

The team has only one freshman on its 10-man roster, Wilson Washington, a big man who probably will have to sit and learn behind Elmore, McMillen and Roy.

Maryland lost three games after Elmore injured his foot last year, and all together dropped four games by four or fewer points, so it may have been better than its 23-7 record. But it had a characteristically poor year in the ACC (it has not lost a regular-season game outside the conference in a three-year span) and on the road, losing six games away from Cole Fieldhouse. This team looks too good for that sort of burlesque. Start the music.


Fred Snowden had been 80-0 as a junior varsity coach at Detroit's Northwestern High, 109-7 with the varsity while winning five straight city championships and a fine recruiter as an assistant at the University of Michigan. Yet the young, gifted black coach had never been offered a major college job of his own.

"Old friends from Motown would stop by and ask when I was going to make a move," says Snowden, who played against the Four Tops, whose high school typist became a Supreme, and who coached people like Alex and Ron Johnson, Willie Horton, John Mayberry and two of the Temptations before Arizona Athletic Director Dave Strack tempted him to Tucson last year.

To be certain he was equal to the rebuilding task ahead (Arizona had been 6-20), Snowden brought with him two kids who had been teammates at Detroit's Kettering High. "Neither Coniel Norman nor Eric Money looked terribly impressive when they got off the plane," Snowden recalls. "My assistant, Jerry Holmes, took one look and said, 'That's the franchise?' "

Local reporters were equally skeptical, possibly because they thought Money was the star, and were upset when Arizona, low on Money publicity photos, gave them pictures of Norman instead. As luck—or just possibly ability—would have it, it was Norman who popped in 24 points a game as the Western Athletic Conference's Most Valuable Player. All Money did was average 19 points.

Snowden sometimes started five freshmen as the Wildcats won 16 games and finished in a three-way tie for second place in the conference. But his new harvest is so rich that the only other sophomore who definitely will start is 6'8" Forward Al Fleming, whose mother's given name is Arizona. Freshman Herman Harris will play opposite Fleming. Another newcomer, 6'10" Bob Elliott from Ann Arbor, is so ready that last year's starting center married and transferred.

The Michigan regime has settled in nicely at Arizona although, as Norman says, "When a lizard walks across the street you know you're not in Detroit." To make his teen-agers more at home, Snowden does things like dropping in on them for a piece of pizza and a friendly rap, which does not hurt his reputation. Kids from all over the country call him.

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