BY DANIEL JEAN-LUBIN | It’s the middle of July and in a small room in Milwaukee, Wisc., Macky Bergman is about to address a roster of some of his best high school basketball players before a talent showcase and skills camp for some of the top talent in the country, hosted by Under Armour.
For most high school-age students, this time of the month is reserved for vacationing and relaxing. But for Bergman and his troupe from Steady Buckets, basketball is a full-time job.
Steady Buckets began as a simple Amateur Athletic Union (A.A.U.) travel team program spawned from the minds of Executive Director Barry Weiss and Head Coach / Program Director Bergman. Weiss wanted to develop a basketball program to organize and develop young talent in the area. When he approached Bergman with the idea back in 2010, Bergman, who was already running a basketball program at the Chinatown YMCA, joined without hesitation.
“I knew I wanted to focus my energy on bringing a better brand of basketball to Downtown Manhattan, the neighborhood in which I was raised,” Bergman said.
Putting it all on the line: Steady Buckets teaches the fundamentals, from foul shooting and ball handling to defense.
A former standout hoops player at Bronx High School Science, Bergman was a top player at Division III University of Rochester.
Today, Steady Buckets has greatly expanded to provide tournament games, skills development, weight training, study hall sessions and a life-lessons curriculum for practically the entire year.
“We pretty much run 24/7/365 with very few days off,” Bergman said. “It’s important to me that my players can practice every day, and I make myself available to them as much as possible.”
With most new participants hearing about the program through word of mouth, Steady Buckets continues to provide kids ages 4 to 17 with a chance to develop their basketball ability, plus their love for the game.
“Over the last three years, we have changed our vision while keeping true to our mission of providing high-level coaching and mentorship through basketball,” Bergman said. “We focus on the fundamentals, including ball handling. I also give the older players a chance to work on their leadership skills, giving our young players a group to look up to.”
In addition to serving Downtown youth, Steady Buckets has continued to expand to where players now travel from every borough to be part of one of New York’s premier basketball programs.
“There is no doubt that Steady Buckets has changed the Downtown basketball scene,” Bergman stated. “Players are learning high-level skills, and since we offer programs seven days per week, players who want to improve know where to find us. With players coming from all over the city, the level of competition has risen and provides Downtown players with a more complete New York City basketball experience.”
Today, the Downtown basketball scene has grown by leaps and bounds, and continues to gain popularity, in no small part thanks to a yearly effort from the great folks over at Steady Buckets.