Damon Stoudamire will fill the assistant coaching vacancy on Sean Miller's staff, Memphis Tigers blog Memphis Roar reported on Sunday. The former Arizona Wildcats guard, NBA player and NBA assistant will replace James Whitford, who left to take the Ball State head coaching job after this past season.
The move, which had been rumored for some time, is a surprising one considering Stoudamire is relatively young in his own respect as a coach, but he's already built an impressive resume in the recruiting and coaching while on Josh Pastner's staff. Much of a draw is his instant credibility as a former NBA player, but he's also proven that it's more than his name that's helped Josh Pastner's staff in Memphis.
John Martin (@JohnMartinCA) May 6, 2013
Damon Stoudamire leaving for Arizona is a sizable loss on the recruiting trail. That's just the facts. Prospects/coaches LOVE him.— John Martin (@JohnMartinCA) May 6, 2013
Remember Austin Nichols' dad, before Austin committed, telling me he wished Damon Stoudamire was more involved in son's recruitment.— John Martin (@JohnMartinCA) May 6, 2013
More Austin Nichols: "I'd heard he might leave, but I didn't think he would. Damon was my guy. I'm just shocked."— John Martin (@JohnMartinCA) May 6, 2013
Stoudamire joined Memphis' coaching staff two summer ago. He first jumped into coaching at Rice University, where he was the director of player development under former California Golden Bears coach Ben Braun at Rice University. He joined the Memphis Grizzlies, his old team, in 2009, and made his way to the Tigers in May of 2011.
Of course, Stoudamire made his name as a player. He was the rookie of the year for the Toronto Raptors in 1996 and went on to play for the Portland Trail Blazers, Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs.
When he was hired at Memphis, Stoudamire spoke to me at Dime Magazine about jumping into the college ranks, something he said he had been wanting to do for some time. His ultimate goal, he said then, was to eventually become a head coach.
"I think that coach has asked me to be a coach. It's not a situation where I'm coming in here and working some guys out and things like that. I'm coming here as a coach, and I look forward to helping coach (Josh) Pastner in any area that he wants. For me it's a step in the right direction to where I want to be, you know, just, say 10 years from now. Ultimately, I want to be a head coach."
The move to Arizona is a step in the right direction. And for the Wildcats, it likely means a boon on the recruiting front, if not in the player development area as well.