Pat Riley’s Brother Lenny

Lenny Riley, one of Pat Riley’s older brothers, was a very talented basketball player himself.  At 6’3″, he was a prolific scorer and solid rebounder.  He also had the quick hands and made many steals at the defensive end of the floor.  Lenny played for St. Columba’s High School from 1950 to 1953.  St. Columba’s was located on Craig Street on Hamilton Hill. The hill was an interesting mix of some very run-down two family homes and bungalows that were well-kept with manicured lawns.  The school had a very unique basketball court.  There were pillars in the middle of the floor which could be used for screens by offensive players.  Tom Howley, a very successful area coach, was the St. Coumba’s mentor.  Howley later coached at Niskayuna High School, and he had a state championship team in 1978.  Lenny Riley won the Schenectady County high school scoring title the 1951-52 season. The 1952-53 season, he was leading the county in scoring through the month of January.  At that time, Lenny was hitting a remarkable 45% of his shots from the field.  One of his greatest games came in a head-to-head battle with Scotia’s Bobby Wayand.  Wayand and Riley were competing for the county scoring leadership at the time.  Lenny scored 28 points to take the scoring lead.  He also had 18 rebounds and played a superb defensive game, picking off numerous passes.  Coach Howley called him the best college prospect in the entire Capital Region.  Howley rated Riley his greatest player until 1978.  His Niskayuna team won the state title that year, and he said that guard John Leonard had replaced Riley as the best player he has ever coached.  Leonard went on to a superb career at Manhattan College.  Later, he coached the Jaspers, then moved on to become the assistant the University of Massachusetts.  Lenny Riley played his college ball at Florida Southern.

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