Kadejhia Sellers is more than just fast

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Three seconds were left on the clock. Manchester Regional High School (New Jersey) was down by one. The ball was in Kadejhia Sellers’ hands, like it always was at the end of games. The star basketball player would graduate Manchester as the all-time leading scorer with 1,059 points. And Manchester just needed two.Head coach David Sposato still remembers what happened next vividly. Sellers dribbled the length of the floor, through the entire defense for a game-winning layup as the buzzer sounded.“For most people to dribble the length of the court in such a short period of time while being covered would be impossible,” Sposato said. “But due to her sheer speed, she was able to do it.”Sellers has taken her speed to the next level, now a senior leader for Syracuse in track and field. She received All-ACC honors in 2016-17. That spring, she placed third in the 400 meters at the ACC Championships. Last season was highlighted by a win in the same event at the Boston University Valentine Invitational. Her raw athleticism and leadership make her the runner she is.“She’s the kind of kid that I’d love it if she had eight years of eligibility and we can go ahead and play with her being a 60-meter runner one year and play with being a 200-meter runner one year,” Syracuse assistant coach Dave Hegland, who coaches the sprinters, said. “I just think she could do a lot. She’s got a really wide range of abilities.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSellers’ mom, Patsy Waters, remembers when Sellers was little and played outside, developing the versatility that would propel her. During games of hide and seek, Sellers would sprint and be the first one hidden. She was never caught.“She just moves really, really quick,” Waters said.  “So I was like, ‘wow.’ And she has really long legs, too.”When she moved from South Carolina to New Jersey her sophomore year of high school, she landed a spot on the Manchester basketball team.The 2014-15 season was Manchester’s best in three decades. After Sellers graduated, it went from 15 wins to five wins the next year. Sposato said she still holds an “iconic” role in school history. Her number, 20, has not been worn since she left. It didn’t matter if she were exhausted, Sposato said. With their fast pace style of play, she normally was. But when the team needed her late, she would kick into another gear.“It’s a great thing when your best player is also your hardest worker,” Sposato said. “So the rest of your team is working their butts off because you have a girl who’s a stud, who’s all out sprinting and coming early and putting the time in.”She ran track before she moved states, though only in the outdoor season because of basketball. She threw discus — not every meet, she was just “playing around” — and nearly broke a school record on her first throw. She’s also ran the 60 meters in 7.37 seconds which Hegland called “exceptional” for a 400-meter runner.Anna Henderson | Digital Design EditorSposato believed that even if she was taught volleyball, she would’ve been the best player on the court. Hegland wishes there was more time in each season so he could have really seen what she could do.At Manchester, a fast time in the 400-meters in her junior year caught the attention of schools like Syracuse. Hegland said the more the staff learned about Sellers, the more they liked her.“The fact that she was playing basketball and playing at a high level, that helped her,” Hegland said. “She picks up on new things really quick … She’s a very adaptive athlete.”Some Division II schools offered to bring her in for both basketball and track. But Sellers said she recognized that while her passion was basketball, her talent was track. She could do more with it.When Sellers got to SU, she had to make adjustments. Running indoors for the first time, she had to learn how to cut into lanes quicker, as well as adjust to different lengths.“Mentally it kind of messes you up, whereas outdoor you’re just running one lap and indoor is two laps,” Sellers said.But she fit in quickly, becoming All-ACC in indoor, not outdoor. Hegland was impressed with how well she faced the steep learning curve. As the only senior female sprinter on the roster, it’s now her turn to help the younger runners make their adjustments.“She always has a plan and a goal not only for herself, but for the whole team,” Alexis Crosby, a freshman teammate, said. “So it’s been an inspiration to be around her and to just learn from her.”While Sellers specializes in the 400-meter run, she has been used elsewhere — and has found success. She finished second in the 200-meter race in the 2017 BU Valentine invitational. In the 2015 Cornell Greg Page Relays, she won the 300-meters.But no matter what Sellers does, her philosophy remains the same.“Everything I do, I have to make sure I do it in excellence,” Sellers said. “Because if I do it in excellence, then the team will follow that excellence.”center_img Published on January 30, 2019 at 1:01 am Contact Eric: estorms@syr.edulast_img read more