The Miami Heat’s summer league team, which begins play in Orlando this Saturday, will be coached by assistant Juwan Howard, the team confirmed on Tuesday.
Howard, 43, has been an assistant under Erik Spoelstra since the start of the 2013 season and is getting his first chance to coach in a lead role. Spoelstra, who is getting married later this summer, will attend segments of both summer league events.
The Heat open summer play at 5 p.m. Saturday against the summer league roster of the Los Angeles Clippers. The Heat will play all five of its games in Orlando on the practice court inside the Amway Center. Miami will play the first of at least three games in Las Vegas on July 9 against the Dallas Mavericks.
Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson, the Heat’s standout rookies from last season, will practice with the summer league team and are expected to play in a game or two in Orlando. Winslow, a member of the U.S. Select Team, will later practice against the U.S. Olympic team in Las Vegas from July 18-21.
Point guard Briante Weber, whom the Heat signed late in the regular season off the its Developmental League roster, and guard Rodney McGruder, who helped lead the Sioux Falls Skyforce to the D-League championship, are the two headliners on the Heat’s summer league team. McGruder averaged 15.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and shot 38.4 percent from three last season for the Skyforce.
Howard’s son, Juwan Jr., a 6-5 swingman who played in six summer league games with the Heat last year and in Spain this past season, will also be on the team along with a collection of undrafted rookies signed by Miami after the draft last week.
Those undrafted rookies include: guards Damion Lee (Louisville) and David Walker (Northeastern), forwards Michael Carrera (South Carolina), Nathan Boothe (Toledo), Chris Obekpa (St. John’s) and Victor Rudd (South Florida) and center Stefan Jankovic (Hawaii).
RILEY ON SUMMITT
Heat president Pat Riley released a statement on the passing of legendary University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt, who died Tuesday after a five-year battle with early onset dementia.
“When you think about the game of basketball and the great ambassadors of the game, those who truly have left something significant behind, Pat Summitt rises to the level of John Wooden and John Wooden only,” Riley said.
“Pat’s presence and what she accomplished in teaching players how to play the game to win and play it the right way was a testament to her greatness. Having met her a number of times, I realize that the sport of basketball, not just women’s basketball, has suffered a significant loss. I am extremely dismayed by the passing of this great coach and great woman. The Miami Heat organization share tremendous sympathy with the Summitt family. Rest in Peace.”