Heat’s Spoelstra praises Michigan’s hiring of Howard

Juwan Howard spent six seasons as an assistant with Erik Spoelstra and the Heat.

Juwan Howard has a believer in Erik Spoelstra.

In case you haven’t heard, Howard is the new coach at the University of Michigan — his alma mater, as Howard was a member of the famed Fab Five class of the early 1990s.

Before taking trhe job at Michigan, he assisted Spoelstra with the Miami Heat for six seasons.

“Juwan is an absolute star as a person, player and coach,” Spoelstra said, via the Miami Herald. “I feel he is more than ready. He is a terrific leader and mentor, which translates very well to the collegiate level. While we are losing a valuable member of our staff and a great friend, I am happy for him and his family. He will forever be a champion and part of the Heat family and I am excited to see him take the next step.”

Howard replaces John Beilein, who coached the Wolverines for 12 years. Beilein left for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who Howard interviewed with about a month ago.

He was also linked to head-coaching vacancies with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers. Howard landed none of those gigs, but came away with a pretty good one nonetheless.

Meanwhile, as Spoelstra noted, the Heat now just have two assistants with playing experience in the NBA — Anthony Carter and Chris Quinn.