Friday, March 28th, 2008 at 1:34 pm  |  65 responses

Shooting is fundamental with Jack Ryan

and rebounding with Matt Caputo

By Matt Caputo

Those of you who read our magazine may remember the name Jack Ryan. A Brooklyn native, Ryan is considered to be one of the best shooters outside the NBA and probably the best shooter from New York City hands down. His career on the city blacktop made him legendary and his career as a Harlem Wizard helped him transition into a new audience. Ryan, who scored 60 points in a quarter versus a team of middle school teachers once, now spends a lot of his time running clinics and performing in trick shows for kids all across the country.

Right after the NBA All-Star break, Matt Sheridan and I once again loaded up my Jeep and met Ryan at a community center in Clark, New Jersey. Ryan had just come back from New Orleans where he set three new world records in the Guinness Book of World Records. One for longest time spent spinning the ball on his nose, another for longest time spent spinning the ball on his toe and another for making the most free throws blindfolded.

Considering his storied streetball shooting exhibitions and sharp mechanics, we thought “Black” Jack Ryan was the perfect person to break down the finer points of shooting the basketball for our second installment of THE reincarnated “SKILLZ” series.

To learn more about or contact Jack Ryan, visit hoopwizard.com

-Matt Caputo

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    This is far more compelling than watching one guy talk about shooting a basketball while he shoots basketballs should possibly be.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com Eboy

    I like that guy. So true about every young player that guys right to the three point line too.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com Eboy

    *that goes

  • http://www.slamonline.com Matt Caputo

    You bet your a*s it’s far more compelling.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com Eboy


  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Jack Ryan is the man. I can’t wait to read Russ’ comment about trying to guard the dude!

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    And if Ryan doesn’t know what I’m referencing I will be very disappointed.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Ben, the only reason I didn’t reference that game at the playground on 21st and 2nd in these comments is because I did it months ago, when (I think) Caputo first wrote about the Jack Ryan documentary. Between hating on Kevin Love and not reading and memorizing every single one of my comments, you’re really not doing your job at all.

  • http://www.firemitchkupchak.com Reggie Evans

    I like this stuff. “The Shot Pocket”. Better players make better readers and better fans. And commenters.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    My apologies, Ryan.

  • http://www.firemitchkupchak.com Reggie Evans

    I didn’t read that comment. I would like to hear how Ryan Jones did against Jack Ryan (the basketball player, not the Tom Clancy character).

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    The last two days feature ones (pics of Donna and video of Black Jack shooting) have been tremendous. Now all we need is video of Donna.

  • http://tadone.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Haven’t watched Jack yet, but i’ll co sign the Donna video ASAP.

  • http://slamonline.com DP

    lol. yall are the new better basketball right? cold

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com Eboy

    TAD, try to avert your eyes when Jack balances a ball on his big toe.

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    I may try and break that most free throws blindfolded record,five seems do-able.

  • Captain America

    Great, thanks for the direction Matt.

  • http://tadone.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Finally got a chance to look at the videos, and stuff he says is common sense, but you would be surprised how many kids don’t follow this. Great stuff Matt.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com Eboy

    Exactly, TAD.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Reggie: I didn’t guard him, Russ did. That said, neither Russ nor I could guard him if our lives depended on it.
    TAD: What’s dope is that he offered that common-sense shooting advice while he was shooting 93 percent from the floor.

  • http://tadone.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    True. He was talking and steady shooting, and I think he only missed when he planned on missing.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com Eboy

    I call CGI or good Photoshopping. :) And I don’t know about Russ, Jones, but I don’t think there’s too many people that would be fearing you and your shut down D.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    I try hard, eboy. That’s really what matters.

  • http://tadone.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I wonder, if you chase Jack off his jumper, does his game completely fall apart? Doubt it, but I wonder.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com Eboy

    Do your thing, Ricky Davis.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    TAD: No. He might punch you for trying, though.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com Eboy

    He’d be fun to play against then. A well placed elbow to the throat usually gets a good heated brawl going. And his arm muscularity show he’s rugged while Ryan’s shows he knows his way around a pocket protector.

  • http://tadone.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    NY ball. I love it.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    I got so unbelievably pissed off that game I think I’m STILL suffering the aftereffects. And it was probably seven or eight years ago, now. Once I found out who he was it made it a little easier to take, but MAN could he shoot. Obviously.

  • http://Maggiecoughlan.com Maggie

    Um, I can’t believe I actually just watched two videos on shooting skills and didn’t want to slit my wrists — not even once!

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com Eboy

    Does he not come off the ground with his shot? Just a slight lift? That’s nice. Or is it for the sake of the video’s purpose that he is shooting flatfooted with a raised heel?

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    i respect that he calls himself a streetball legend.
    There was a thing earlier this year about Ray Allen warming up before a game in a similar way, starting up close and slowly working his way farther out. Good role models if you want to be a shooter

  • http://www.slamonline.com Matt Caputo

    EBOY: Jack Ryan had serious hops back in the day. The documentary I did kinda got put on ice because Jack’s “life rights” were sold to FOX for what Blackjack says will be a feature film.

    Sam…don’t get served like Russ.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com Eboy

    Thanks, Matt.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Matt Caputo

    I reviewed in SLAM, I meant to say. Chris Murphy who played at Archbishop Molloy High School and at Misericordia University in PA. He coached Molloy’s JV and told me and my bother one day about a guy named Jack Ryan who was playing in the Coors Light League, which from my memory was played at a high school in Queens, for sure. He said Ryan hit something like ten threes in each half one night. The Coors Light League was a pretty competitive league from what I remember hearing about. A lot of tough guys for sure. Jack is around NYC at the 14th street Y playing at lunchtime sometimes.

  • http://washedupplayer.blogspot.com/ RiseKing

    I think Jack Ryan and Dave Hopla need to go head up…

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    As I recall, the best part was we kept asking Russ if he wanted to switch on Jack or needed or help or anything, but he refused. And Jack just kept stroking.

  • Hubert

    is jack ryan that guy lang was really referring to as jesse dunn?

  • http://orange JpT

    dannng. he just doesnt miss!

  • http://none HoopStar

    Thats pretty helpful, I’ll have to give those techniques a try next time I hoop.

  • TheMC5

    Beat Peddlers suck. Lets get some less lame-ass music next time. Otherwise, good video.

  • http://www.nba.com hursty

    cos MC has the balls to write that he could do better…? :) that video was good ‘common sense’, just almost no-one else does it.

  • KA

    can we get him to fix kidds jumper?

  • http://www.nba.com hursty

    or shaq’s free throws? theres not really any point. It would take him too long to ‘unlearn’ his technique, destroying the semblance of structure he has.

  • mat smith

    good stuff, I enjoyed that, thanks!

  • thehairupthere

    My man BlackJack is net, better listen to him.

  • Tom

    Awesome video……It’d be amazing if he gave shooting tips like that while he was stroking J’s in a pickup game, that would take trash talk to a whole new level. And I second the Jack Ryan vs. Hopla shoot-out

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    I’ve shot with Hopla and Jack and played with Jack. I say—pretty confidently—that Hopla wins a pure shooting contest (ie, most made fts or 3s out of 100) but Jack wins in a one-on-one and is the better player in a 2-on-2, 3-on-3 5-on-5, etc. They are both awesome basketball guys though and very cool.

  • Tom

    hey, what happened to the video links??

  • TheMC5

    Hursty, not only could I do better, but I have done better. Anyone with a MIDI keyboard and ProTools could write less cheesy music than that. But it was still a good video, it just suffered from a crappy soundtrack, is all.

  • http://www.nba.com hursty


  • http://www.nba.com hursty

    MC link your name up to some of the stuff. not trying to be a smart @ss but im interested. no, that work wasnt great but it works with the visual. link it up i wanna hear your stuff :)

  • Alistair Jones

    Black jack is a legend, I hope slam make more videos on the fundamentals. How about having bobbito talking about dribbling next!


    Maybe, Black Jack and Hopla in a charity shootout, with Slam, ESPN, and other sponsors pitching in. Now that would be nice, at a great outdoor venue, just in time for the summer.

  • http://www.whiteshadow55.com White Shadow

    That’s why he’s the best shooter that never made the nba! Black Jack is the real deal! Good to see SLAM show him some love

  • Seldom Seen

    Simply stated and to the point Jack Ryan shot is off the charts. I’m sure there may be a few out there who claim to have seen or even be better for that matter but I’m a victim and and witness to his sharpshooting talents. He’s been doing it so confidently and effortlessly for years so watch the tape and follow along you mere mortals…lol! Also look out for the next great young and uupcoming shooter “The Flyest on 2 Feet” out of the LES who will hopefully follow in Jack’s footsteps one day.

  • http://www.bouncemag.com bobbito garcia

    aaa-ight! great to see jack up on here–nice job matt! i’ve known jack for 20 years, and heard about his exploits a decade before that. all the accolades he’s receiving now are well deserved. amazing that in his mid-40s he’s gettin more shine than ever. just goes to show so long as the love is there, it’ll carry you.


    bobbito a.k.a. kool bob love

  • PMG

    I have played with and watched Jack for 25 years.. since his days running Ryan’s Lions in the league on Fort Hamilton Parkway in Bay Ridge…

    Such a wonderful story and the best part. . this is a an EXCELLENT video for any young player to watch on the fundamentals of shooting..

    p.s. – a poster above mentioned Jack playing the Coors Light League above… we were on the Pipins Pub team (only Brooklyn team) and went undefeated that year and won the championship… another great shooter on the team. . Jimmy Riches…

  • http://www.slamonline.com louis

    Wow that was a great show!That man never misses a shot!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Anderw

    This guy is crazy he never misses a shot!!!!


  • http://myspace.com/muhnamezachormyspace.com/NBASUPERSTAR94 zachh

    yo matt r u gonna get us in the magazine or not??????

  • Lee

    I’m a few years younger than Jack and had never heard of him until one day at a run we used to have at the Madison Sq Boys Club in the ealy 90′s. Guys like Gerry Hobbie, Dan Callandrillo, Mike Dunleavy’s brother Kevin and some other name brand guys. He literally did not miss a shot and threw a couple of spectacular passes.

    The next game Gene Smith, the tough defender from Georgetown roughed him a little and denied him the ball and Jack couldn’t get off in quick game to 8 points but his rep was already cemented in my mind. I ran into him occasionally at W 4thSt and it was an event when he was on the court and this was after he had destroyed his knee. BJR is the real deal and I’m happy to see him doing his thing after all these years.

  • http://www.207ent.net Scott

    It’s about time the greatest Basketball Magazine in the World shows Black Jack some love! Matt, way to step up and represent one of the best players to never get the big show.

    Best Regards,

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