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Damon Stoudamire returns to Arizona

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Damon Stoudamire was one of most popular players in Arizona history, an electrifying, high-scoring guard with a cool nickname.

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Now Mighty Mouse is headed back to the desert.

Stoudamire was hired as an assistant coach under Sean Miller on Friday, a move that's sure to be a big hit with one of college basketball's most fervid fan bases.

``We are thrilled to welcome back Damon Stoudamire to the University of Arizona to become a part of our coaching staff,'' Miller said in a statement. ``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.''

A 5-foot-10 guard, Stoudamire was one of the most dynamic players in Arizona history, winning 101 games from 1991-95. He helped lead the Wildcats to the 1994 Final Four and was the next season was a consensus All-American, Pac-10 player of the year and a finalist for the Wooden Award.

Stoudamire is the only Arizona player to score 40 points twice in a season, is sixth on the school's career scoring list with 1,849 and is a member of the Arizona Ring of Honor inside the McKale Center.

Stoudamire was taken with the seventh overall pick of the 1995 NBA draft by the Toronto Raptors and was the Rookie of the Year after averaging 19 points, 9.3 assists and 4 rebounds.

He was later traded to his hometown team, the Portland Trail Blazers and also played for Memphis and San Antonio during 13 NBA seasons.

Stoudamire retired after the 2007-08 season and spent one year as director of player development at Rice under head coach Ben Braun. He spent two seasons as an assistant coach for the Memphis Grizzlies and the past two as an assistant under Josh Pastner at the University of Memphis.

``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. 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.''

AP NEWS
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The Associated Press
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