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.
‘When 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. ‘He and Stan Van Gundy , who was also an assistant down there at the time, these guys would function on about three hours of sleep.
‘We 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.
‘Obviously, everybody knows that Dwyane Wade is a great slasher, a guy who can get to the hole and is very explosive,’ Huckaby said. ‘But 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.
‘Nobody 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. ‘It 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 ‘a friend and a mentor,’ said Riley appears to be staying out of the way.
‘I don’t think [Riley helps coach in the locker room],’ Huckaby said. ‘I 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.’