Former Dragons assistant finds niche teaching basketball skills to players, including NBA clients
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Six years ago, Reid Ouse never envisioned this is where his career in basketball would lead.
The former Minnesota State Moorhead graduate assistant didn’t expect to be training NBA players like former Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins, who now plays for the Golden State Warriors.
“I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be working out Andrew Wiggins,” said Ouse, who started his high school basketball career in Rothsay, Minn., before playing his final three prep seasons at Fergus Falls Hillcrest. “Every time something cool happens, I’m still just that kid from Rothsay. I will forever think all of this stuff is crazy and I can’t believe that I’m doing this.”
Ouse is a basketball skill development specialist whose clients for the most part range from high school freshmen to NBA and professional players. He has more than 70 pro clients and his Instagram account (CoachOuse) has 120,000 followers.
“I work all the time and I love it,” said Ouse, now based in the Twin Cities and is the director and owner of Catalyst Basketball Training. “I literally found my passion and I’ve turned it into my job.”
Ouse was a graduate assistant for the Dragons men’s basketball team for the 2013-2104 season, which was his last college coaching job before he stumbled into individual skill development. After he finished his stint at MSUM, he moved to Long Island, N.Y., with his then-fiancé Amanda, who is now his wife. He was looking for coaching jobs on the East Coast and started training youth players to “pay the bills.”
One weekend during the fall of 2014, while filling in for a friend, Ouse met DJ Sackmann, a well-known and connected NBA skills coach.
“I walked to the back gym and there was a guy,” said Ouse, who had spent seven years in college coaching. “I was like ‘I know this guy.’ I think DJ is like the best trainer on the planet.”
Ouse said Sackmann had just relocated to the East Coast and needed help with his basketball training company.
“We started working together,” Ouse said.
DeMarre Carroll, who around that time had just signed a lucrative contract with the Toronto Raptors, was one of the first NBA players Ouse helped train with Sackmann. Carroll finished this past NBA season with the Houston Rockets.
“Everything kind of blew up and I’m like ‘Hey, I kind of like this.’ I kind of like being my own boss,” said Ouse, who worked with Sackmann for more than two years. “It kind of happened by accident.”
Ouse later relocated back to Minnesota in December of 2016 after he had already made trips back to his home state to train now former NBA players Cole Aldrich and Nate Wolters, a former South Dakota State standout.
“My big-name clients were here so that was where the bulk of my business was,” Ouse said. “When I moved back to Minnesota, my only clients were NBA guys. It was kind of backwards.”
Former Dragons guard Anthony Tucker was another player Ouse started to train after Ouse returned to Minnesota, although the two weren’t with the Dragons at the same time. Ouse said Tucker helped grow his business with numerous referrals. Ouse has trained Tucker for four years. Tucker has played multiple seasons professionally after his MSUM career.
More recently, Ouse trained Wiggins and Minnesota Timberwolves forwards Jake Layman and Juancho Hernangomez. Ouse said he teaches multiple skills, but specializes in footwork and footwork patterns that can be applied to game situations.
Ouse said NBA-level players are interested in skill development as a way to help elevate their games. During the grind of the season, Ouse said it’s hard for NBA coaches to spend a lot of time on player skill development.
“The first thing is these guys are looking for somebody who can specialize in this,” Ouse said. “A lot of these NBA players have been the elite athlete in their group their entire career. And now they get to the NBA and now they’re just normal or even below average.”
This past summer, Ouse worked with Paige Bueckers, the former Hopkins (Minn.) High School standout who is now a freshman for the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team. She was considered by most the top college prospect in the country coming out of high school. He's also trained former Minnesota Gophers forward Daniel Oturu, who was selected in the recent NBA Draft and is headed to the Los Angeles Clippers.
“It’s been interesting to see how I’ve gotten all these players,” Ouse said. “I’m a kid from Rothsay, Minn. If you work hard enough and you build relationships with people, you can accomplish anything.”
Ouse said during his seven years in college coaching he worked for four great coaches, including Chad Walthall at MSUM. He said that experience has helped him develop into a better trainer. Ouse added that working for Sackmann also gave him a different perspective on the game from when he was in coaching.
“I learned a lot from DJ on not only the skill side, but like the business side,” Ouse said. “He opened my eyes to a different aspect of the game.”
Ouse has created an app for training and also does a podcast. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, he recently started doing training sessions via Zoom. He currently has four other people on his training staff, including former Southwest Minnesota State guard Ryan Bruggeman, who is from Pelican Rapids, Minn.
“I have 300 kids on zoom calls,” Ouse said. “I never looked at myself as an entrepreneur, but that’s what I’ve become. ... This is something that I’ll do for the rest of my life I think.”