Mike Senior: Just call him the professor

August 22, 2022 Andy Furman
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If you’re a Brooklyn baller, you know him.

And, if you’ve had basketball success, you’ll credit him.

He’s the man behind the success of Brooklyn basketball – from youth, to college and the NBA.

Mike Senior calls himself a student of the game.

“I was 11 years old when I started my first sports program,” he told the Eagle the other day. “It was the Van Dyke Villes.”

He organized sports like handball, stickball, jump rope, running track and a Brooklyn favorite – Ringolevio.

Did we mention members of his program were ages 16-18?

“At 13,” he continued, “I played Pro Am basketball all over the country.”

It was basketball – teaching and studying the game – that was magic for Mike Senior.

“The Librarian at the Brownsville Library would set aside six-to-10 basketball reference books every week,” he said. “In fact, I didn’t even have to check ‘em out.”

Strange but true, Senior – now 74 – never played basketball at Wingate High School. “I was considered a pro touring the country with the Pro-Am team,” he said.

But mom knew – as they usually do.

“My mom told me as a kid, I’d be the No. 1 coach in the country someday,” he said. 

And if he’s not the No. 1 basketball mind today – he’s pretty close.

“If Dr. James Naismith could invent the game of basketball,” he said, “well, I knew I could add to it.”

Senior claims he has introduced close to 100 drills to the game of basketball that no one has – and says they’re not random.

“Today,” he says, “kids can’t get better because everyone teaches the same thing.”

After graduating Colorado Northwest and later Lincoln University, Senior’s life took a twist when he met NBA Hall of Famer Connie Hawkins at the P.S. 270 Park on Clausson and Lafayette avenues.

“Connie told me I had the sweetest jump shot he’d ever seen,” Senior said. “And he was impressed with my jumping ability.”

The 5-foot-6-inch Senior had a 44-inch vertical.

So, he took his basketball knowledge and skill and started a summer program which entered year 41 this year.

“We started with four teams in a round-robin tournament; then increased to six and then 12 teams, and played at P.S. 270.

“We showcased our kids to the neighborhood,” he said, “it’s nothing like the famed Rucker Tournament in Manhattan. I think it’s better. We’re highlighting kids from our neighborhood, and teaching the youngsters; if the older kids can do this, well, so can you.”

The crowds came – the college coaches came – and a brief two-year stint as an Assistant Coach at Tilden High School.

Senior did some work at Benjamin Banneker Academy – 71-77 Clinton Ave. “I had a great relationship with the principal,” he said. “I’d arrive at the school at 6am for training – boys and girls.”

Banneker posted the best defense in the city during Senior’s stay and produced Gary Forbes who performed at the University of Virginia, UMass and later, briefly in the NBA with the Long Island Nets.

Forbes – and Senior – has some company.

Some of the students who have “graduated” from Senior’s tutoring include: Craig Carter, Assistant Coach, University of Wisconsin, Women’s Basketball; Dwayne (Pearl) Washington, Syracuse University, New Jersey Nets; Lawrence (Bud) Pollard, West Virginia University; Charles Jones, Rutgers University, LIU and the Chicago Bulls; Carey Scurry, LIU and the Utah Jazz; Keith Williams, University of Cincinnati; Ramel Bradley, IMG Academy, New Zealand; Malik Sealy, St. John’s University, NBA; Gerald Greene, Seton Hall University; Jai Kellman, Brooklyn College; Mia Marcus, University of Rhode Island; Kenny Charles, Fordham and NBA); his shooting student – Jimmy Baron, former coach at Rhode Island and St. Bonaventure University.

Mike Senior strongly claims he has the No. 1 basketball program in the country. When asked why, he quickly says: “Because our kids graduate college.”

Senior moves his winter instructional programs indoors to P.S. 308 — 616 Quincy Street – and says he no longer has tournament games.

“The parents complain too much,” he said.

“Our goal is work on your game, every day,” he said.

Hard work and being positive makes everything possible in life.

Just ask Mike Senior.

Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected] Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR.


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