It’s a major move for a NBA coach to leave the league for a career in college coaching. Many thought Damon Stoudamire was making the wrong move after a combined 15 year NBA playing and coaching career.
“The assistant coaches I talked to, if they were in my position, probably would’ve done something different,” said Stoudamire in the Commercial Appeal, entering his second season as a Memphis Tigers assistant to Josh Pastner. “But the last 18 years of my life I was doing a routine, whether I was a player or coach. I wanted something different. I didn’t get into this for anything less than the thrill of dealing with kids.”
The career move is paying off for the Tigers program and Stoudamire. Memphis’ Top 5-ranked 2013 recruiting class features three ESPN 100 recruits and Stoudamire is establishing himself as a future head coach. According to the Commercial Appeal, “On multiple levels, Stoudamire is responsible for the recruitment of freshman forward Shaq Goodwin, junior guard Geron Johnson, and verbal commitments Markel Crawford (Melrose), Nick King (East), and Pookie Powell (Dr. Phillips High, Orlando, Fla.).”
Stoudamire, an Arizona Wildcat all-American, had a 13-year NBA career that included the 1996 Rookie of the Year award and career averages of 13.4 points and 6.1 assists. He served two years as a Memphis Grizzlies assistant. As an assistant with the Grizzlies, Stoudamire was in charge of player development and assigned additional duties with scouting and game planning.
Memphis finished last season with a 26-9 record, C-USA regular season and conference championships and a NCAA tournament appearance.
Be sure to follow Patosha Jeffery on Twitter: @patoshajeffery