Celtics to Hire Former NBA Rookie of the Year With Ties to Udoka: Report

Celtics hire Damon Stoudamire

Getty Damon Stoudamire #20 of the Memphis Grizzlies is seen during warm-ups against the Chicago Bulls January 13, 2007 at the United Center.

First-time head coach Ime Udoka has begun filling out his coaching staff in Boston. Stadium’s Jeff Goodman has reported that current Pacific men’s basketball head coach and former NBA point guard Damon Stoudamire will be joining the Celtics staff as an assistant.

The impending hire comes on the heels of ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting last week that Stoudamire was a target of the Celtics for an assistant coaching role.

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Stoudamire’s Ties to Udoka & Coaching Resume

Stoudamire — who, like Udoka, grew up in Portland — played 13 years in the NBA, including eight seasons for his hometown Trail Blazers. The seventh-overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft out of Arizona, Stoudamire earned Rookie of the Year honors with the Toronto Raptors after averaging 19.0 points and 9.3 assists per game. Stadamire’s other stints in the league include stops with the Memphis Grizzlies and the Spurs — the latter of which is where he spent the 2008 season as teammates with Udoka, Stoudamire’s final season as a pro.

Over his professional playing career, the 5-foot-10-inch Stoudamire appeared in 878 games (793 starts), averaging 13.4 points and 6.1 assists per game. His prolific rookie campaign also helped him earn an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection. After hanging up his sneakers and a year-long tenure as the director of player development for Rice University Owls (2008-2009), Stoudamire headed to the coaching ranks, manning assistant roles with the University of Memphis (2011-2013) and his alma-alma mater, University of Arizona (2013-2015).

Stoudamire, 47, eventually took over as Pacific’s head coach in 2016 after a second stint on the Memphis staff. Over his five years at the helm, Stoudamire accumulated a record of 71-77. In 2019-20, he helped lead his Tigers to one of the school’s most prolific campaigns, mustering up a 23-10 record (11-5 in the WCC), en route to taking home West Coast Conference Coach of the Year honors.

More Additions to the Celtics’ Coaching Staff

Turns out, Stoudamire won’t be the lone coach on the Celtics’ staff with San Antonio ties to Udoka. The Athletic’s Jay King recently reported that the team is finalizing a deal to hire Spurs assistant Will Hardy to their coaching staff.

“The Celtics and new head coach Ime Udoka are finalizing adding Spurs assistant Will Hardy to Udoka’s coaching staff, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA,” King tweeted. “Hardy, widely respected, played his college ball in MA (Massachusetts) at Williams [College].”

Hardy spent the past decade as part of the Spurs organization, including the past four seasons as an assistant coach. He manned the head coaching duties for the Spurs summer league team in Utah from 2015-2018, as well as the Spurs Las Vegas summer league team from 2017-2018. Hardy also served on the Team USA coaching staff at the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Stoudamire and Hardy will be among numerous changes to the Celtics staff, as longtime assistants Jay Larranaga and Jamie Young each informed The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach that their contracts had not been renewed and they “will not return.”

One assistant who is apparently staying put is Joe Mazzulla, who Himmelsbach noted is expected to be retained, per league sources.

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