Heat’s Dan Craig named assistant for USA National Team camp; Erik Spoelstra believes he’s ready for even bigger things

Miami Heat assistant coach Dan Craig calls a play while filling in for Erik Spoelstra this season in Indiana.  (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

LAS VEGAS – Heat coach Erik Spoelstra received the first call that his assistant, Dan Craig, was selected as an assistant for the USA National Team basketball camp this month in Las Vegas.

“When I got the call from USA Basketball I almost dropped the phone,” Spoelstra said. “It was that cool of news to get and obviously it’s an incredible honor to represent our country and the whole USA program.”

Craig is one of nine coaches, including seven from the NBA, who will assist USA National Team head coach Gregg Popovich of the Spurs. The camp will be July 26 and 27 in Las Vegas and consist of 35 players from which 12 will be chosen to compete in the 2019 World Cup and 2020 Olympics in China and Tokyo.

“DC is so deserving of it,” said Spoelstra, who is in Las Vegas for summer league where the Heat play at 2 p.m. Saturday against New Orleans.

“He’s going to do a terrific job. It says a lot about him that he was chosen for it. Not that he cares, but it will help his profile around the league as well.”

Craig has risen through the ranks since joining the Heat organization in 2004. He starting in the video room, has served as Miami’s summer league coach three times, moved onto Sioux Falls where he led the Skyforce to the 2016 G League title and was named coach of the year and now sits next to Spoelstra on the Heat bench.

In March, Craig took over for Spoelstra in Indiana after the Heat coach left the team when his wife, Nikki, who went into labor. The Pacers defeated the Heat, 113-107 in overtime.

Spoelstra has said many times he believes Craig is ready to be an NBA head coach.

“He doesn’t need more development,” Spoelstra said. “He’s not in a rush. He’s all about just helping the team the best that he can and the role that he has right now he has a great perspective about it. He’s going to enjoy it as long as it lasts especially having the opportunity to work with friends. But he’s ready for the next step and this is just a great opportunity to be a part of an amazing program, USA basketball.”

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