Georgia Tech coach Damon Stoudamire wants Miles Kelly to play at ‘All-American level’

Georgia Tech men's basketball coach Damon Stoudamire works with his team during a practice.

Credit: Eldon Lindsay/Georgia Tech Athletics

Credit: Eldon Lindsay/Georgia Tech Athletics

Georgia Tech men's basketball coach Damon Stoudamire works with his team during a practice.

Georgia Tech’s first-year basketball coach Damon Stoudamire went ahead and made quite the decree Tuesday.

“I will say this, before I go any further, Miles Kelly for one, I think he has to play at an All-American level,” Stoudamire said. “Some people say, ‘Oh that’s skipping steps.’ He hasn’t, I don’t think, been All-ACC as of yet. But I need him to play at an All-American level. I think that’s key for us. He has to be a shot-maker. His ability to do that will definitely impact this team.”

Stoudamire and his team, which includes junior guard and former Parkview star Kelly, who averaged 14.4 points last season, officially began preseason practice Monday. One day later Stoudamire spoke with media members about his expectations for his first Tech team, how his roster has come together and what he needs to see from his squad before tipoff Nov. 6, when the Yellow Jackets host Georgia Southern at McCamish Pavilion to begin the regular season.

Like most every modern college basketball team, Stoudamire’s group is a mixture of freshmen, returners and transfers. They’re all working to come together under the former NBA standout and a new collection of assistant coaches with the ultimate goal of making the NCAA Tournament.

Stoudamire said only two of his current players have been to an NCAA Tournament, and he believes the only way for his team to return to that destination comes down to accountability.

“Not being held accountable comes back to attention to detail,” he said. “Usually if you’re doing something wrong inside the lines, you’re not living right outside the lines, right? I always tell ‘em, ‘If I come over to your apartment right now, you make your bed in the morning? Did you wash your dishes? What does that look like?’ For me, I’m trying to get these guys to become creatures of habits. That’s doing the right thing, that’s being in the right spot, that’s not compromising anything that we do for the betterment of the team and the betterment of your teammates more than anything.

“At the end of the day, you’re fighting out there for your brothers, so that’s the biggest thing I’ve been trying to instill in them, and that’s on both sides of the ball in everything that we do off the floor as well. If we can get that down, then everything else will fall into place.”

Tech is coming off a 15-18 season and 6-14 mark in the ACC. Josh Pastner was fired in March giving way to Stoudamire’s hiring days later.

Stoudamire has spent the better part of the past six months adding five freshmen and six transfers to his program. He’ll have the next month to figure out who can contribute when the lights go on.

“I don’t discriminate. Freshman, senior, I’m playing the best players,” Stoudamire said. “I love to compete, I want to see guys compete, and it’s not necessarily the toughest player or best player wins, but it’s the one that knows what to do and be the toughest and the better player. That’s all I’m looking for.”