OGDEN — Bountiful coach Mike Maxwell has seen a slew of talented players during his 24 years at the helm of the Braves’ program.
Maxwell has an innate ability to mold players offensively and develop a consistent, rhythmic jump shot. After all, his shooting touch during his playing days at Highland High was one of the purest the state has seen. From 1975-79, without the assistance of the 3-point line, Maxwell scored 2,098 points, which still ranks fourth all-time in state history.
He knows special talent. And he sees that in sophomore gunner Zach Seljaas.
“If they put little guys on him — he’s going to post them. If they put big guys — he’s going around them,” Maxwell said of Seljaas. “He’s just a terrific player and he’s going to get better and better. That’s kind of a hidden gem right now that’s developing into something special.”
Seljaas, a 6-foot-6-hybrid guard, displayed his ability to create scoring opportunities Tuesday in Braves’ 67-53 win over Westlake in the first round of the 4A boys’ state tournament.
He scored Bountiful’s first nine points and finished with 15 points. He started outside-in by luring defenders to the perimeter after knocking down a silky-smooth 3-pointer on the wing for the Braves’ first points.
The next possession, Seljaas left his defender on a hesitation move and finished at the rim for an and-one conversion.
Then, after Westlake captured an 8-6 lead, Seljaas — as the defense timidly sagged off — buried another 3-pointer.
“He carried us at the beginning,” Maxwell said. “They were hitting shots and he stepped up and kept us right in the game. I don’t want to get down and sometimes that happens in the tournament.”