Mike Souza, born in Staten Island (New York), is a professional skills coach who currently works in Palm Beach (Florida) and has dedicated much of his life to training high-performance athletes, helping them to become their best version of themselves. He has worked with basketball players of all ages and levels. From Juan Collins of the Atlanta Hawks, to Ersan Ilyasova of the Milwaukee Bucks, also with players like Scottie Barnes; who could possibly be the first pick in the NBA draft this year, Alonzo Gee; NBA player for a long time, Jahcobi Neath, Ramon Galloway and he even helps artists who are passionate about basketball and loved to improve their game, as it is the case with the renowned Puerto Rican Reggaeton singer: Nicky Jam.
It all started in 2013 when Mike became a Skills Coach and began working with young basketball prospects at the high school level. One of them began to show results that drastically changed his game and that was when it truly clicked for him. Initially he needed to show that he could really help these athletes and thus be able to start working with higher-level players (university, overseas and NBA), and that is what he set out to do. He identified the improvement needs of each player he served and thereby achieved that their training was directly translated into the game of each one of them.
His main strategy is to study each player and adapt the training to their main needs, while building impactful relationships that last beyond the basketball court. However, he assures his training has no science, since it is game related training for game results. Nowadays, this talented Coach already has extensive experience and a long list of professional players in the NBA / FIBA leagues and college players of all levels. “I won't have my clients doing tricks, backflips or over-dribbling in workouts. We are only doing things that can translate to their individual game and the game of basketball. I'm honest with guys and tailor their workouts based on their needs.”
How has been the training with these players?
Scottie Barnes: plays for Florida State University and is a projected NBA Draft pick for 2021. I have worked with him since he was in 7th grade. We worked out 4 times a week at 5:00am up until his Sophomore year of High School. When he transferred to the High School we continued to workout in the evenings whenever he was available. Scottie and I have a great relationship deeper than basketball; this is why our workouts were always so efficient. My plan is to help him whenever he needs me. Hoping that we can prepare for the NBA Draft this coming off season.
Jahcobi Neath: is a point guard at Wake Forest University. I have worked with Jahcobi since he was 12 years old. I would pick him up at 4:30am, we workout for 90 minutes and then I would drop him off to school. He developed a love for working hard. He went from a nobody to a STAR! Starting as a freshman in the ACC for Wake Forest to hopefully getting on some draft boards this year. We speak everyday on FaceTime. He is like a brother to me. Our #1 priority is making him an NBA prospect. Over the pandemic we worked tirelessly on his touch/finishing and making reads out of the ball screen.
Ersan Ilyasova: is a current NBA Veteran for the Milwaukee Bucks. We’ve spent the last 5 off seasons together. Our workouts mostly consist of conditioning and shooting. I have been with him through the free agency process multiple times & we continued to work as if he was on a lifelong contract for a team.
Kenny Kadji: My journey with Kenny began in 2014. Kenny was known as a stretch 5. His big body always made him a great screener but the ability to pop for 3’s was the “unicorn” in him. Big 7 '0 foot frame, can shoot, dunk and great touch around the rim. My goal with Kenny was to have him put it on the floor. We started spending countless workouts just putting it on the floor creating space off the bounce. He really excelled after one summer, thereafter we continued to work on small details like how he picked up the ball to get into his jumper, different finishes and steps to get to the rim. I didn’t care if he dunked. Sure it was cool to see but my vision for Kenny is what he became. A 7’0 who can finish like a guard without needing to dunk, a massive frame that can put it on the floor and pick his spots to shoot from. I tell everyone I work with; there is no “TALENT” like Kenny Kadji. Kenny is not just a client to me but a role model and true friend for ever.
Alonzo Gee: I love being in the gym with Alonzo. He is the only player who “gets” me. He knows everyday in the gym with me is a mystery even if we put what we are going to do on paper. I know him and his body so well that from the minute he comes into the gym, I already know what we are going to do. I chose to challenge his wind pretty often. It is a shame he was pinned as a defender. He would have been an unreal ball handler if he had the opportunity earlier in his career. Everything with him is to bounce and score when we work out. If it isn’t that, we are running to spots constantly just for catch and shoot opportunities. Depending on the league he does, we will change things up. If he is a “bigger” guy we are working on dribble post ups, face up game & finishes. If he’s the average size, we tap into his athletic ability (scary how athletic he is for his age) and catch and shoot shots. Alonzo, just like most guys, became a good friend. If I had one thing I know I put into his game it’s the face up & post ups. Refreshing to see film of a guard in a workout mirroring the post ups and face ups in a game.
Anthony Polite: We most recently connected on the floor this year during the pandemic. Another guy who just has great energy when he walks in. His ears and eyes are locked into whatever it is I’m telling him. A lot of things we worked on in workouts were picking his spots in ball screens, keeping the bounces limited and using his frame to create space. Another thing we really harped on was not missing catch and shoot jumpers. He can DRILL IT from the corner. Honestly one of the purest strokes I have seen, then again left handed players are always attractive. I can’t say I have made an impact on Anthony’s game as of yet but only time and film will tell. I check in with him 1x or 2x a month just to see how he’s doing mentally - especially with all of the uncertainty regarding this season. I have no doubts he will be special.
Ramon Galloway: Without a doubt the nicest guy I have ever shared a floor with. One of the most coachable pros I have ever been able to work with. Ramon can shoot with both hands, that’s how talented he is. The mark I tried to make on Mone’s game was paint touches and fade-aways. He’s explosive, fast and can handle the ball extremely well. I took his ability to get by guys off the bounce and tried to show him opportunities he can score inside without being clobbered at the rim. His body control and ability to fade is incredible. Another guy who I’ll have run very hard to sports but he’s just a guy you want to have the ball in his hands. When it comes to finishing with Ramon, we spend a lot of time using the high spots on the glass and stepping in front of the defender. He’s quick but my goal with him was to stop in gear 3 completely & go right back into gear 3 without skipping a beat.