Monday, March 8, 2010

Hey Teachout, Don't Leave Those Kids Alone: A Look Inside Yorktown's Shooting Specialist

"Shot doctor" has grown from workaday Westchester basketball terminology to one of the most overused household hoops cliches.

Terry Teachout, a Yorktown native who's helped catapult Westchester/Putnam County grassroots basketball to new heights, knows better than anyone.

Teachout, the president and founder of Teaches Basketball Camps and the personal trainer of New York Knicks All-Star David Lee, laughs at the notion of basketball instructors/personal trainers claiming such a title.

"The 'shot doctors' that you hear about are pretty much guys who are
self-proclaimed shot doctors," said "Teach," whose last name is certainly fitting for his part-time profession.

"And there's a big difference between someone who is self-proclaimed and someone who can actually go and improve somebody's game. When you're a self-proclaimed guy, you're out there recruiting people. You're out there selling yourself. That's how they go out and get there clientele."

Teachout's hoop pedigree opens eyes. Through his work and various camps that often include Section I coaches and assistants, it's evident that individual accolades are meaningless to Teachout. The notion of being a glorified shooting coach simply does not register to him.

He's more concerned with creating an atmosphere where kids push themselves to the maximum of their abilities while simultaneously rectifying the strokes of young shooters.

Teachout's resume, along with his partnership with the NBA, has helped Teaches Hoops skyrocket to success around the 914 basketball landscape.

Teachout, a fixture throughout Section I's rich recruiting real estate (he's a shooting coach at Mount Vernon High, which captured their fifth straight Section I title this March), prides himself on having an eye for top-flight talent.

He's molded a wealth of that talent and refined aspects of their game. He's focused players on fundamentals, allowed them to alter the way they shoot, and pushed their development. "Teach" is a staple at the Westchester County Center in March, evaluating players and drawing conclusions during the hottest time for high school hoops.

Teachout, who kick-started Teaches Hoops back in 1987, has worked extensively with five of the last six Section I Player of the Year winners.

Former Section I standouts such as Kevin Jones (West Virginia, 2011 NBA draft hopeful), Mike Colburn (Rutgers), Jonathon Mitchell (Florida/Rutgers), and Chris Lowe (UMass), have all worked under the tutelage of Teachout, who's been mentioned in basketball lifestyle websites such as SLAM, Hoops Addict, and the Big East Basketball Report.

He's the man who brought David Lee camps to Westchester. Teachout runs annual summer camps with the Cleveland Cavs' Daniel Gibson, the Washington Wizards' Andray Blatche. Blatche, he of the dicey past, has come into his own recently.

Teachout worked an NBA event in Paterson, N.J., alongside Knicks forward Al Harrington earlier in the winter.


Teachout, 49, lives in Yorktown with his wife Jana and their two six-year-old twins, Hayley and Taylor.

Teachout has long been the President of Dierdrof-Stead Inc. While it may be a long time since Teach seriously laced up the high tops, citing a men's league down in Thornwood 20 years ago, he still gets in his shooting and challenges the young gun counselors at Teaches camp shootouts. It's become an annual activity at the camps he runs with Lee.

Teachout has been molding young minds in the basketball classroom since 1987. Outside of operating camps, clinics, and personal/team instruction, Teachout frequently has hand in launching players to Division-I hardwood homes.

He knows the process from experience.

Teachout, who had tryouts with the Cleveland Cavs following a four-year career at Division-I Duquesne University, was the top scorer in Ohio while at West Geauga High School.

Averaging 28 points per game, stuffing the stat sheet and frequently going eyeball-to-eyeball in scoring battles with Clark Kellog, the former NBA forward and current CBS college basketball analyst, Teachout emerged into a highly sought after prospect on the recruiting agora.

He ended up choosing Duquesne over Minnesota and Pittsburgh.

You won't find Teachout going around town self-promoting. You won't find him posting "shooting specialist" ads on Craigslist, or advertising his by way of facebook or twitter. You certainly won't hear him ever refer to himself as the shot doctor.

If you need to find him, he's probably at the gym. Teachout is akin to a janitor with all the gym keys he's collected, over his 23 years running Teaches camps.

"I can take someone, I can improve their shot," said Teachout, who was mentored by veteran NBA coach Flip Saunders during his early high school days.

"Whether it's been, starting with David Lee, or starting with
Jonathon Mitchell, and on down the line, the proof is there, and the
quality is there too. So, I don't have to self-proclaim anything. You
can just look at the track record and see, it's been done."

For more information on Teaches Hoops, please visit www.teacheshoops.com or call 914-238-0278.