Stoudamire left the UA for the NBA in 1995 as one of the most accomplished players in program history. He led the program to the Final Four as a junior, and average 22.8 points per game as a senior. 

Michael Caulfield

Former Arizona standout Damon Stoudamire is leaving Memphis to return to the Wildcats as an assistant coach, Memphis coach Josh Pastner said tonight.

However, UA has not announced the move.

Pastner said Stoudamire decided last week to return to his alma mater for the job, effectively filling the vacancy left by James Whitford, who left to become the head coach at Ball State last month.

"Damon did great things for me," Pastner said. "Arizona's getting a great coach and a great guy. I understood that it's his alma mater and he had a tremendous career there."

Pastner said UA coach Sean Miller asked permission to talk with Stoudamire and when he did, Pastner said he knew Stoudamire would be interested.

 "Sean and Arizona are getting a really good one," said Pastner, who — like Stoudamire — is a former UA player.

Stoudamire, 39, had a 13-year playing career in the NBA after leaving Arizona in 1995, when the Toronto Raptors made him the No. 7 pick in the NBA Draft.

Stoudamire was named Rookie of the Year in 1995-95 with Toronto, while also playing for Portland, the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio. He graduated from Arizona in 2008 and served as Rice's director of basketball operations in 2008-09.

Stoudamire then joined the Grizzlies' staff as a coach in 2009-10 and 2010-11 before Pastner hired him with the Tigers.

Stoudamire did not immediately return messages for comment tonight but told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal before last season that he wanted to return to college basketball for the chance to work with young players.

"The assistant coaches I talked to, if they were in my position, probably would've done something different," Stoudamire told the Commercial-Appeal. "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."

Stoudamire is Arizona's No. 3 assist leader of all time, with 663 over a four-year career from 1991-92 to 1994-95. He's also the seventh-leading UA scorer with 1,849 points and is third in three-pointers made, with 272, behind cousin Salim Stoudamire (342) and Jason Gardner (318). 

It is not clear if Arizona coach Sean Miller might appoint Stoudamire or another staffer to the associate head coach position that Whitford vacated.