Faith factors into Selvidge’s guiding messages

Sarah Shaw/The Herald
Heritage Hills senior Dalton Selvidge, right, has guided the Patriots not only by being one of the top scorers the last two seasons and a fill-in point guard this year, but also through his faith. Selvidge is active at Heritage Hills Baptist Church and in the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, and he has a mission trip to Jamaica planned for this summer.


No matter what changes in the Heritage Hills basketball scouting report each game, the Patriots can always count on Dalton Selvidge’s tradition.

A Heritage Hills pregame routine is pretty standard. Slip on the uniform. Revisit the scouting report. Then, at the end comes the pregame prayer. That part has been led by Selvidge this season, and it hints at the guard’s faith and how that has connected to basketball and leadership for the Patriots.  

“My primary reason for playing in the Lord,” Selvidge said. “If it’s not His will for me to play, then I wouldn’t be playing, but I’ve been trying my best to use basketball as a way to show people that I know the Lord and I love Jesus.”

“For the most part, Dalton leads by example,” Patriot coach Nate Hawkins added. “There’s not a day that goes by where he doesn’t do that, and there’s not a day that goes by where he doesn’t give it everything that he’s got. He’s going to hold the team accountable. I think that’s been the biggest thing, accountability, and that’s what you’ve got to have out of your senior leader.”

Selvidge is averaging 12.5 points per game, but his season hasn’t gone quite according to plan. When starting point guard Mitchel Becher got injured in the season opener, Selvidge had to take over some point guard duties, even though he was slated to be the team’s shooting guard.

“Your point guard has got to be very vocal,” Hawkins said, “and all of the sudden Dalton became a very vocal leader as well. And sometimes when the younger kids are veering off a bit, he’s quick to bring them back.”

As Hawkins said, faith doesn’t really show until someone is put in a situation that tests them. Selvidge is scoring the second-most points for the Pats after being the team’s third-leading scorer last season. And if you ask Hawkins, he’s unquestionably the team’s leader. This was evidenced when former NBA player and Washington High School star Luke Zeller visited a Heritage Hills practice this season to talk about leadership. At the end of that discussion, Zeller had one simple question.   

“Luke, he point-blank asked them, ‘Who’s your leader?’ And every one of them pointed at Dalton,” Hawkins recalled.

The pregame prayers come naturally for Selvidge, who ad-libs them in the moment. They last about one minute, varying in message each time, but generally focus on Hawkins’ gameplan and following through on it. Selvidge said he also likes to thank God for “another opportunity and how far we’ve come in the season.”

“I just go at it when it’s time to pray,” Selvidge said. “It’s just a time between the team and God.”

Selvidge is a leader of the Heritage Hills Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter and  acts in a similar capacity for his youth group at Heritage Hills Baptist Church. He said the experiences with FCA and his church have formed how he’s interacted with the team this season.  

“Leadership skills, they’re transferable in many ways. I’ve really learned those a lot this year,” Selvidge said. “I’ve had to step up a lot in different groups like FCA and on the court in basketball and even at my youth group.”

The next step for Selvidge is a mission trip he’s taking to Jamaica in the summer. He views “every day as an opportunity for ministry work” and said basketball is a great sport to connect with others because there’s an intimacy to it, he explained. Selvidge said he’s formed relationships with teammates and opponents at AAU games and summer tournaments, an occurrence he expects will continue when he heads to Jamaica.

“They’re going to have a basketball court there, and I’ll use what I learned here and everywhere else and how I can use basketball to show that I know the Lord and I just want to share that with people,” Selvidge said. “Talking to someone about God off the street can be (hard) — once you get to know someone better, when you talk to them about God or Jesus or different things then they can say, ‘Well this is a pretty good guy,’ or they’ll stop and think more about what you’re saying if you get to know them.”

Hawkins mentioned one of the biggest ways Selvidge’s faith shows is through his positivity. The fact basketball can test someone in the same way faith can be tested isn’t lost on Hawkins. He mentioned that a team must keep faith in each other during rough patches, just as someone might lean on religion during down times in life.

“That’s the one thing we do around here. We try to bring a lot of positive energy, even in those bad times,” Hawkins said. “I do believe that the two things inter-mix. And Christ and basketball, in a lot of ways, they kind of have the same type of meaning.”

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