May 17, 2013 5:17 PM
TUCSON - University of Arizona men's basketball coach Sean Miller today announced the hiring of Wildcat alumus and former NBA great Damon Stoudamire as assistant coach.
Stoudamire returns to Tucson after completing his second season as an assistant coach at the University of Memphis. He joined the Tigers' staff in May of 2011 after a two-year stint on the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies coaching staff from 2009-11.
"We are thrilled to welcome back Damon Stoudamire to the University of Arizona to become a part of our coaching staff," said Miller. "Damon is an immensely talented recruiter, and is also very comfortable teaching and coaching the game. More importantly, his credibility in all aspects of our game is unmatched - he simply has ‘been there and done that' at the highest level. I believe strongly that he will be invaluable in helping many of our current and future student-athletes do the same."
This past season, Stoudamire helped the Tigers to an impressive 31-5 record and both the Conference USA regular- season and postseason tournament championships, completing conference play with a perfect record. In addition, the Tigers advanced to its third straight NCAA Tournament, which included a second-round victory over Saint Mary's. The 2012-13 campaign marked the third straight season of 25-plus victories for the Tigers.
In his first year on the UM bench, Stoudamire played an integral role in helping the squad to a 26-9 overall record, the Conference USA regular season (13-3 league mark) and tournament titles and an NCAA Tournament berth. The Tigers overcame a one-game deficit to win the title by two games in the last two weeks of the season.
Stoudamire moved to college basketball from the professional ranks after completing two seasons (2009-11) as an assistant for the Memphis Grizzlies. He helped direct the Grizzlies to the most successful season in the organization's history, finishing the 2010-11 regular season with a 46-36 record and a third-place finish in the NBA's Southwest Division.
The Grizzlies shocked the nation caught the Bluff City by storm with a magical playoff run that saw the Western Conference No. 8 seed, upset No. 1 seed San Antonio, 4-2, in the playoffs' opening round, and then took No. 4 seed Oklahoma City to seven games, before dropping a hard-fought series, 4-3.
The Grizzlies just missed making the playoffs in Stoudamire's first season in 2009-10 with a 40-42 overall record. Despite no postseason, Stoudamire was a member of a coaching staff that saw the Grizzlies post a 16-game turnaround from the previous year (24-58 record in 2008-09). He also coached Memphis' summer league squad during the NBA's 2010 foray in Las Vegas.
Prior to his joining the Grizzlies staff, Stoudamire was the director of player development for Rice University's men's basketball program under head coach Ben Braun for the 2008-09 campaign.
Before crossing over to the coaching ranks, Stoudamire played 13 seasons in the NBA (1995-2008) for Toronto, Portland, Memphis and San Antonio. For his career, the 5-foot-10 guard averaged 13.4 points, 6.1 assists and 3.4 rebounds in 878 career appearances.
Nicknamed "Mighty Mouse," Stoudamire was the seventh overall selection by the Toronto Raptors in the 1995 NBA Draft. In his first NBA season, he averaged 19.0 points, 9.3 assists (career best) and 4.0 rebounds and earned the 1995-96 NBA Rookie-of-the-Year award. Stoudamire was also named to the NBA's All-Rookie first team and received the NBA Rookie All-Star Game MVP honor.
During his second NBA season with the Raptors in 1996-97, he averaged a career-best 20.2 points and also posted averages of 8.8 assists and 4.1 boards while playing in 81 of 82 regular-season contests.
Stoudamire was traded to his hometown squad, the Portland Trail Blazers, during the 1997-98 NBA campaign, and performed before his home fans for eight years (1997-98 through 2004-05). His final year in Portland was his best in terms of scoring average, scoring at a 15.8 ppg clip. He played in 81 games and also averaged 5.7 assists and 3.8 rebounds. In that final year in Portland, Stoudamire tallied a career-high 54 points vs. New Orleans on Jan. 14, 2005. Stoudamire's 54-point performance is still the Trail Blazers' single-game scoring mark.
From 2005-08, Stoudamire played in 118 games for Memphis, averaging 8.4 points, 4.6 assists and 2.6 rebounds in his two-plus years. Stoudamire finished the final year (2007-08) of his career in San Antonio, where he saw action in 31 games.
In his NBA career, Stoudamire played on six teams that advanced to the playoffs, including five with the Trail Blazers. Stoudamire was a member of the 1999-2000 Portland team that advanced to the Western Conference finals, falling in seven games to the Shaquille O'Neal-and-Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers.
One of the most dynamic guards in Arizona history, Stoudamire led Arizona to a 101-24 (.808) record from 1991-95, winning two Pac-10 championships (1993/1994) and advancing to the 1994 Final Four. He received three All-America honors in 1994 and was a consensus All-American as well as the co-Pac-10 Player of the Year and a John R. Wooden Award player-of-the-year finalist in 1995.
He finished his career ranked fifth on the UA career scoring list with 1,849 points and still ranks sixth on that list today, and his 663 career assists were the second most in the Lute Olson era. Stoudamire is the only player in Arizona history to score 40 points in a single game twice and one of only three Wildcats to score more than 600 points in a season twice, finishing his career as the career leader in three-point field goals (272/now ranks third). In fact, Stoudamire still ranks in the career top 10 of eight different statistical categories 18 seasons after his college career ended.
"Damon is one of our all-time great players and is a distinguished member of our Ring of Honor in McKale Center," Miller said. "He also enjoyed an illustrious 13-year NBA career before entering the coaching profession. Most recently, Damon was a part of a great two-year run at the University of Memphis where he helped guide their program to two conference championships and two NCAA appearances. What made Damon such a great player is what makes him a talented coach - his passion for the game and his ability to connect with people."