Putting together a winning program was something Aaron Landon and Dez Stoudamire talked about when they first met.
“We talked about how I could possibly turn a program that hasn’t been doing well into a winning program,” Stoudamire said. “That sounded good. I wanted to put (South Puget Sound Community College) back on the map.”
Landon, in his third year coaching the SPSCC men’s basketball team, recruited Stoudamire out of Centennial High School in Gresham, Oregon.
“I knew who he was because I came up here from Portland,” Landon said. “He had some options, but I told him what he had ahead of him if he wanted to come here, and how he could help us.”
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Stoudamire is the cousin of former NBA players Salim Stoudamire and Damon Stoudamire. But spent most of his time developing as a player with Salim’s brother, Antoine.
“We did a lot of shooting, he helped me have a better shot,” Stoudamire said. “We did a lot with ball handling because I was very raw and needed to develop when we first started working together my eighth-grade year.”
The rawness? That’s maturing.
Stoudamire is averaging 22.8 points per game this season. The freshman is ranked fourth in scoring in the Northwest Athletic Conference, and has racked up 319 points this season —including a season-high 41 in December against Skagit Valley.
And the Clippers (12-3, 1-0 NWAC) sit atop the conference’s West Region.
SPSCC is rounded out by a strong sophomore class, including Tyler Watts — who Landon calls the “glue guy” you see all across the stat sheet — and Deiondre Bird.
“At this level, if you get a good sophomore and good freshman class that want to play together, this whole thing can change in a year,” Landon said.
The Clippers haven’t finished a season above .500 since 2003.
Stoudamire said the team chemistry is a primary reason for success.
“We work extremely hard together in practice and we do what our coach asks us to do,” he said. “We put it into games and come out with wins.”
It is Landon’s hope those wins translate into an NWAC championship tournament berth in March. The Clippers have to finish in the top four in their region to advance to the 16-team tournament in Everett.
“We know we have this group for a year,” Landon said. “We just want to make the most of our time together and really want to get to this postseason and see what we can do.”
The Clippers host region rival Highline (10-6, 1-0) at 8 p.m. Wednesday.