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Malcom Huckaby praises Eric Spoelstra on D&C

06.01.12 at 10:26 am ET

Former Boston College guard Malcolm Huckaby, who was signed to a one-year deal by the Heat in 1996-97, joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday and offered his opinion of Heat coach Eric Spoelstra. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Huckaby recalled working with Spoelstra during his time as a member of the Heat, when Spoelstra was a video coordinator for the team.

‘€œWhen I was playing down there in 1996-97, the assistant coaches really didn’€™t get the type of credit they do today in terms of helping guys develop and how valuable they are to the head coaches,’€ Huckaby said. ‘€œHe and Stan Van Gundy, who was also an assistant down there at the time, these guys would function on about three hours of sleep.

‘€œWe would come back and, prior to moving into the American Airlines arena, we had a practice facility and these guys literally would sleep there overnight.’€

Huckaby went on to discuss Spoelstra’€™s role in the development of Dwyane Wade, who quickly developed into a star partly due to Spoelstra’€™s coaching.

‘€œObviously, everybody knows that Dwyane Wade is a great slasher, a guy who can get to the hole and is very explosive,’€ Huckaby said. ‘€œBut the thing I think has improved in his game is his consistency of his jumper. He credits Eric Spoelstra for that.’€

Wade made headlines for confronting Spoelstra during a timeout in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Huckaby said he does not see that as a current issue between the two though, as both Wade and Spoelstra appear to have moved on.

‘€œNobody wants to see that happen, in particular when it’€™s your star player going up against any coach, whether it’€™s a veteran coach or a young coach,’€ Huckaby said. ‘€œIt happens, they have moved on, and they have rebounded pretty quickly from that the way Wade came back afterwards and had a pretty good game in that Indiana series. I think that is kind of in the rearview mirror for them right now.’€

Some critics question how much Spoelstra actually influences the Heat with Pat Riley as team president. Huckaby, who considers Riley ‘€œa friend and a mentor,’€ said Riley appears to be staying out of the way.

‘€œI don’€™t think [Riley helps coach in the locker room],’€ Huckaby said. ‘€œI think it actually, probably would hurt his credibility in that locker room if Riley was in there really instructing them. I don’€™t think in front of the players.

‘€Maybe in film session when he is breaking it down with the coaches he may poke his head in there and give some input, but I think right now it’€™s the guys that are on that coaching staff that are really going over that.’€

Read More: Eric Spoelstra, Malcolm Huckaby, Miami Heat,
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