LITTLETON — On a Monday morning after winter break in Chatfield High School’s gym, Parker Teff found himself in one of his favorite spots on the basketball court.
The Chatfield senior drained 3-pointer after 3-pointer from the corner during a drill. No other player could touch his mark of 28 3-pointers made during the two minutes.
“I knew early that inside wasn’t really my game,” Teff admitted. “I focused all my life on shooting and have gotten really good at it. It is what got me here. I’ve thankful that I put in all the work to get me here.”
Through 10 games this season Teff is 33-for-94 from 3-point range for a pretty impressive 35 percent. He had a season-high 21 points on seven 3-pointers before winter break against Rocky Mountain.
While becoming one of the best 3-point shooters in Class 5A took a lot of hard work, Teff also had to overcome being born with Cerebral Palsy.
“I’ve kind of had to adapt all my life,” Teff said. “It just makes my right side a lot weaker than my left. Normal things are sometimes challenging for me. Opening a door or gripping stuff with my right hand. I’ve been able to overcome and adapt.”
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. CP is the most common motor disability in childhood.
Teff gives a lot of credit to his father for teaching him that he can do anything that he puts his mind to. Physical therapy for several years, dribbling weighted basketballs with his right hand to get stronger, along with getting in the weight room put Teff in the position to be a key contributor his senior year for the Chargers.
“Honestly, my first impression was it’s going to be tough,” Chatfield boys basketball coach Erik Buehler said of Teff being able to reach playing at a 5A varsity level. “Basketball is a sport that requires a certain amount of athleticism.”
Teff has proven himself to his coaches at every level that he can adapt and overcome some of his physical limitations.
“Midway through his sophomore year, I was like, ‘This kid is one of the best shooters I’ve ever coached,” Buehler said. “On top of that even as a freshman his (basketball) IQ was well above his age. He just got smarter and smarter. He studied the game and to his credit he realized if he could become an elite shooter it would allow him to continue to play basketball.”
There was never any doubt in Teff’s mind that he could play high school basketball. One of his best friends — senior Christian Foutch — knew the two would be on the court as seniors for the Chargers.
“He is one of the best players on the court all the time,” said Foutch, who has been friends with Teff since preschool and was actually talked into playing organized basketball by Teff starting in the 7th grade. “He has definitely outworked everybody to be here. He put his mind to it and wanted to be here. It’s cool that he wanted to be apart of this team and grind it out to be with me and a bunch of the other boys.”
Foutch actually didn’t know Teff had CP until both were in a middle school together.
“Honestly, I had no idea Parker had anything until about the 8th-grade. We were doing pushups together,” Foutch said. “I asked him what was up. He said he has Cerebral Palsy. I was like, ‘What? How long have you had that?’ I had no idea.”
Opponents on the basketball court might not realize either. They might be too busy watching Teff drain 3-pointer after 3-pointer from the corner on them.
“I have never seen a kid with CP play varsity sports,” Buehler said. “I think his work ethic and mindset has allowed him to do that.”
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.