High School Sports

ACS star Sayvia Sellers takes pride in being an inspiration to the next generation

basketball, high school sports, wasilla, anchorage christian

Typically, graduating high school senior student-athletes wait until after the final season in the sport they plan to play at the next level has ended to make their commitment announcements and hold signing ceremonies.

However, in Sayvia Sellers’ case, her mind was already made up so she decided not to drag out the remainder of the process after announcing her commitment to play at the University of Washington in late August. Sellers was a top 30 player in her class according to ESPN’s HoopGurlz recruiting rankings.

[Alaska high school star Sayvia Sellers signs to play basketball at University of Washington]

Her official signing ceremony took place on Wednesday evening at the gymnasium of the YMCA located on Lake Otis Parkway in Anchorage.

“I just didn’t see a point in waiting,” she said. “I committed and was ready to get it over with.”

The Anchorage Christian School girls varsity basketball star decided to hold the event there because that is where her basketball journey began, according to her grandfather who shared her heartwarming origin story before she signed on the dotted line.

Sayvia Sellers

The decision

It only took two visits to the university for Sellers to determine it was the best fit for her over another school that resides in the state of Washington.

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She will be playing her college ball roughly 280 miles away from Gonzaga University, whose coaching staff had been recruiting her since she was a freshman.

Sellers admitted that the relationship they established and maintained over the years made it a tough decision in the end.

The Huskies first reached out during the summer following her sophomore year when she started playing on one of the AAU teams sponsored by NBA Hall of Famer and 10-time All-Star Jason Kidd. From there, the dialogue between the two parties increased and their relationship grew.

“I just like everything about the school,” Sellers said. “The coaching staff was really cool, the team and environment that they have.”

One of the top selling points for her on deciding to become a Husky was the vision that their head women’s basketball coach, Tina Langley, has for the program moving forward.

“She is really building something at Washington, and I want to be a part of it,” Sellers said.

Washington and Gonzaga were far from the only Division I programs that recruited her and offered a scholarship. She garnered interest from top programs like Oklahoma, Texas, and Tulsa, Kentucky as well.

“I kept all of them and they’re stacked up at the top of my closet,” Sellers said of the recruitment letters.

Staying close to home on the West Coast wasn’t a factor for her during the recruiting process or what ultimately led to her final decision.

“I wasn’t looking to stay on the West Coast, it just happened,” Sellers said.

She is not sure what type of degree she might pursue but does know that it will be “somewhere in the sports field.” Her initial interest is leaning toward sports management.

Sellers’ plan for her senior season for the Lions is to continue to work on and refine her game and enjoy the time she has left with her current teammates before moving on to the next level.

basketball, high school sports, wasilla, anchorage christian

Inspiring the next generation

She prides herself on being a role model among her peers and to the younger generation and hopes that her journey can serve as a source of inspiration for them in the pursuit of their own hopes and dreams.

“It shows them that you can make it if you really want to,” Sellers said.

Lionel Queen has known her for 12 years and was her coach with AK Elite through the eighth grade.

“I first saw her in a league that I was coaching in and you could just tell she was special from the first day,” Queen said.

Queen described Sellers as “truly unselfish and very humble,” a player that always prioritizes setting up others to succeed before herself.

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Even though she has a chance to score almost every time she touches the ball, Sellers is an elite passer and chooses to be a great and highly efficient ball distributor first and foremost.

“She wants everybody to be successful and she doesn’t like the limelight,” Queen said. “If she needs to score, she’ll score but she’d rather make an assist or play hard and let the defense make a play.”

He also describes her as a “unique student of the game” that watches copious amounts of film on some of the NBA’s biggest stars such as Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry.

“She works on it and adds everything to her game,” Queen said.

Queen believes that Sellers’ incredible accomplishments and ascension to stardom is “very inspiring” to youth all across the Last Frontier.

“You don’t have to be at one of those big camps or come from a big school,” Queen said. “She is just a local kid doing it the right way.”

He has been coaching for 18 years and says that Sellers ranks among the top talents that he’s ever coached or coached against. One of his most notable former players is J.T. Thor, who plays in the NBA for the Charlotte Hornets, and he coached against Daishen Nix, who is also in the NBA with the Houston Rockets.

“I’ve seen some of the greats come out of here,” Queen said. “She’s definitely one of the best that I’ve ever seen.”

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Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

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