PROVO — One can easily tell how much mutual admiration exists between Zac Seljaas and Trevin Knell by how they talk about one another.
Seljaas praises Knell’s 3-point shooting prowess, while Knell highlights how tough Seljaas is to guard both inside the paint and on the perimeter.
“He hits eight 3s in one game, the next game he’s hitting 10 3s, the next game he’s hitting seven 3s,” Seljaas said of Knell. “He’s just filling it up and he’s making it look like it’s so easy, like he’s not even trying.”
Said Knell of Seljaas: “I’ve kind of tried to model my game after him.”
The admiration goes beyond basketball.
“I’m just so emotional about things that I’m always up and down,” Seljaas said. “He’s always the same. He’s always happy. He always has a smile and is doing his thing. He’s just an awesome kid. Who wouldn’t want to be like Trevin?”
“He helps out with anything,” Knell said of Seljaas. “He will do anything for anybody.”
Some may say the pair, who will be teammates at BYU after Knell returns from a two-year LDS mission, aren’t supposed to have this kind of respect for each other. They attended rival high schools — Seljaas at Bountiful and Knell at Woods Cross.
Seljaas can’t help but offer a slight dig.
“Woods Cross people want to be like Bountiful,” Seljaas said.
With reflexes as quick as his 3-point release, Knell jabs back.
“Not this year,” Knell said. “Not this year or the last year.”
The two are good enough friends that neither is bothered by the occasional cutting comment. They stayed in contact even while Seljaas was on his LDS mission and emailed each other every week.
Well, almost every week. Knell points out one week might have been missed, but Seljaas makes sure to emphasize it wasn’t his fault.
Struggling to explain himself, Knell hints at a bad game as the reason. Seljaas can’t pass up the opportunity.
“Probably that Springville game,” Seljaas says, referencing Springville’s 4-A quarterfinal win over Woods Cross this season that ended with 3-pointer at the buzzer.
But Seljaas knows that’s just the way the game of basketball goes sometimes.
He remembers similar heartbreak when a halfcourt shot at the buzzer by Sky View’s Jalen Moore eliminated Bountiful from the 4-A tournament during Seljaas’ sophomore year.
Seljaas and Knell both consider themselves to have a brother-like relationship. Seljaas recalls the example his older brother set for him and takes pride in being able to try and set that example for Knell.
Seljaas said he always had a feeling Knell would end up at BYU. Last month, Knell asked for and obtained a release from his scholarship to the University of California-Berkeley.
Not even a week after the release was formalized, Knell received an invitation from BYU to come for a visit. Knell received a scholarship offer on the visit and subsequently accepted.
“That’s a grown, mature man’s decision, and that’s what makes him such a good player,” Seljaas said. “He’s confident in what he wants.”
Knell is set to begin his mission July 4. When he returns for his freshman year at BYU, Seljaas will be a senior.