Georgia Tech adjusting to life with Damon Stoudamire

Georgia Tech resumed its preseason work Tuesday inside the Zelnak Center as it continued to assimilate to life with Damon Stoudamire as its coach.

Three weeks into training and a little more than a month away from starting the season, the Yellow Jackets said the adjustment to Stoudamire and his assistants has gone well to this point.

“I love ‘em, actually,” Tech guard Lance Terry said about the entire Tech staff. “They’re all pretty funny in their own ways. They’re all smart, they have a lot of knowledge about the game. Just learning a lot from all of them and have a pretty good connection with all of ‘em.”

Along with Miles Kelly, Deebo Coleman and Kyle Sturdivant, Terry is part of Tech’s core group of returnees. It’s a quartet expected not only to perform at a higher level under Stoudamire, but to help usher in a new era of Tech basketball that this season includes a healthy dose of transfers and freshmen.

The Jackets, who have an exhibition Nov. 1 against Clark Atlanta before hosting Georgia Southern on Nov. 6 to start the season, are learning just as much about each other as they are their coaches.

“I feel like each day we get closer and connected every day,” Tech guard Deebo Coleman said. “I feel like our chemistry is way better than what it was last year. So that’s the main thing I’m happy about going into this year. I feel real close with the staff and the players.”

Stoudamire, hired in March, added five freshmen to the 2023-24 team to join six transfers. A former NBA star and coach at Pacific, Stoudamire takes over a team that went 15-18 (6-14 in the ACC) last season.

Coleman and Terry agreed their new coach has an honest, straightforward way of handling business. And that’s been appreciated.

“I think that’s what we needed,” Terry said. “I wouldn’t say it was shocking, I would just say it was good to hear some straightforwardness in everything, especially with him being new. He wasn’t holding anything back.”

Terry, who said he spent his summer continuously working on his shot and honing his athletic ability, assessed the Tech roster as athletic, long and taller and admitted it’s a challenge to score in practice against his teammates. Coleman, who said his main focus over the summer was to slim down to a weight that he can maintain throughout the season, has tried to make a concerted effort to be a leader among the younger players on the roster.

Stoudamire took over the program after Josh Pastner was fired in March. He’s charged with returning the Jackets to a winning record and back to the NCAA tournament. Reaching those two goals will take some monumental efforts, and Terry said that’s all it comes down to with Stoudamire.

“He says all the time he can live with a missed shot. He can live with a foul or someone being in the wrong position. But all he wants is effort, all he wants is us playing hard,” Terry said. “As long as we go out there and do that, he’ll be OK with the results.”