High School Boys Basketball

Do-it-all Sellers a ‘hidden gem’ for Morton Ranch

By DENNIS SILVA II, Times Sports Editor
Posted 3/1/20

It’s a late morning practice, the playoffs are a few days away, and Morton Ranch senior Westley Sellers is doing one of the many things he does well on the basketball court.

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High School Boys Basketball

Do-it-all Sellers a ‘hidden gem’ for Morton Ranch

Posted

It’s a late morning practice, the playoffs are a few days away, and Morton Ranch senior Westley Sellers is doing one of the many things he does well on the basketball court.

Sellers, with head coach Khris Turner’s practice game plan scrolled up in his hand, watches intently as players go through a dummy offense. Sellers shows disgust at missed open shots. He breaks up a play to tell a younger player where to run to in order to space the floor appropriately. He focuses on how players are passing and how quickly they get to spots.

“I hate jogging,” Sellers scoffs. “I want everything with pace. And if you jog through practice, then bad practices will simulate to games and even to your teammates. If they see you jogging, they think they can jog then, too.”

Spoken like a veteran coach. Except, Sellers isn’t. He is the glue, Mr. Do-It-All, for the No. 14 state-ranked Mavericks, who play Fort Bend Travis in the Class 6A regional quarterfinals on Tuesday.

Sellers is averaging 9.7 points, 6.2 assists, 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 steals per game. He is a basketball chameleon, adjusting to whatever needs to be done, whenever it needs to be done.

“Freshman year, I had to score a lot,” Sellers said. “Sophomore year, my scoring went down because we didn’t need it. We needed more defense, and I took that role. And as it’s gone on, it’s about doing whatever the team needs.

“If I need to score, I’ll score. If we need help rebounding, I’m down there rebounding. Assists, I get it going. Steals. Whatever they need, I’m there.”

The 6-foot-1, 161-pound guard can score in transition or from 3-point range. He can handle the ball and play point guard in a pinch. He can get into the trenches and fight for rebounds. He can defend four positions.

This season, Sellers has six games of double-figure rebounding, six of double-figure assists and 15 of double-figure scoring.

Senior guard and Baylor signee L.J. Cryer wears the crown for the Mavericks. Sellers wears the hard hat.

“He’s always done the dirty work,” Turner said. “He’s always done the stuff no one else wants to do. His freshman year, he played the ‘4’ (power forward) for us as a small, 5-10, skinny kid. He does it all, and he works so hard to fix flaws. He’s a hell of a player.”

Sellers is quick and fast. He can shoot, pass, rebound and defend well above average levels.

But it’s his smarts that separate him from most.

If Sellers isn’t in the gym, he’s in the film room. Turner said Sellers and Cryer watch the most film on the team, by far. When Sellers has early release during school, he doesn’t go home or go grab a bite to eat. He’s in Turner’s office watching Hudl, the team’s video review and performance analysis program.

“Coach recently pulled me aside and told me I could potentially be a coach one day,” Sellers said. “I’ve been looking at it since.”

Sellers is obsessive about studying his craft.

On defense, when watching upcoming opponents, he will see which player has the ball, first and foremost. Studying plays comes second.

“That person is often the one that operates the offense,” Sellers explains. “If you take that person out and force someone else to handle the ball, you can knock that team off a bit. I’d rather deny the best player and let the ball go to someone else for the simple fact that some people aren’t used to having the ball in their hands. It’ll either break or make you, and hopefully for us it breaks them.”

On offense, Sellers wants a team with versatile players who can play any position.

“If I looked at our team, obviously the ball would go through L.J.,” Sellers said of his high-scoring backcourt mate and longtime close friend. “But I would put in plays to where he’s off the ball and we find two or three other people who can handle the ball. Everybody would be able to play every position and know every job on the floor, because you never know when it’s going to be your time.”

That is why Sellers is adamant during practices about players—not even just varsity starters, but reserves and junior varsity players who may be called up to varsity—running hard, knowing where to be and understanding not only where open shots come from, but why.

It’s why he can conform to any lineup. He sees what is missing and fills that role.

In big lineups, Sellers is another ballhandler to Cryer and often guards the opponent’s best perimeter player. In small lineups, he moves to the frontcourt, battles for rebounds and contests shots around the rim.

“Everyone can go out and shoot and score and play defense, but the biggest thing is knowing your personnel, and that comes with IQ,” Sellers said. “You can be the best passer and still make a good pass in a wrong situation. Or you can over-help defensively. With me, it’s all about timing. When to do things, and where. I like that split-second window when it’s perfect to do something.”

Sellers is unsure of where, or if, he will play in college. Turner said colleges are missing out on a hidden gem.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Turner said. “Because he’s not a dominant big or doesn’t handle the ball all the time, they don’t know he can play inside and bang or can handle the ball and run offense. He’s still overlooked, being in the shadow of L.J., but he’s helped hold L.J. up. Most of the time, the passes to L.J. come from Westley.”

Sellers takes it all in stride. Hidden gem, overlooked. Underrated. It all doesn’t matter. What matters is the playoffs, a countdown to seven wins for a state championship. So far, the Mavs have two.

And if all else fails, Sellers surely has a bright future, teaching others the game he loves, holding a folded game-plan with a whistle around his neck.

“I want to go to school for business and basketball, and I really want to play overseas,” Sellers said. “But I for sure want to be a coach at some time in my life, whether it’s middle school, high school, college, NBA. It just comes naturally.”

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