Ceres High's varsity boys basketball team qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs, compiled a 14-13 overall record and finished third in the Western Athletic Conference (7-5) last season.
The Bulldogs expect to be just as good if not better under the guidance of new head coach Julio Marquez's guidance this year.
Marquez was promoted to head coach following five-year leader Brian de la Porte's departure to Patterson.
Julio assisted Brian for four seasons.
The Bulldogs amassed a 61-72 record, advanced to the playoffs twice and won one league championship during de la Porte's tenure.
"I feel like I can run a successful program," Julio said. "I saw firsthand all the stuff he (de la Porte) had to do. I've learned a lot from Brian. He taught me that building relationships with kids is important."
Varsity returnees Harman Chung (Sr., F), Abel Reyes (Sr., G), Dylan Canatsy (Sr., F), Junior Garcia (Sr., G/F), Angel Garcia (Sr., G), Jimmy Bates (Sr., G) and Terry Brogdon (Sr., F), 2012-13 junior-varsity contributors Joshneil Sandhu (Jr., G), Juan Anderson (Jr., G), Nick Burt (Jr, F/G) and Sahil Soni (Jr., G), and private-school transfers Puneet Sahi (Jr., G) and Austin Stiles (So. G/F) suited up for the Bulldogs during summer-league play.
Ceres High completed a 22-game schedule.
Dekeyth Stroud (Jr., F) and Johnathan Williams (Jr., F) are new to the team.
"We're a pretty deep team," Marquez said. "Everybody has freedom on offense. There's a lot of excitement amongst the players."
Chung, a 6-foot-4 215-pound senior, had 23 points and 12 rebounds during Ceres High's 54-47 season-opening win over Enochs. Harman was a WAC honorable-mention pick his junior year. He averaged 14.0 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Chung starred at tight end in football during the fall. He caught 50 passes for 710 yards and seven touchdowns.
Dylan was sidelined with a broken left hand for the majority of the 2012-13 season. The 6-foot-3 175-pound senior will be a key contributor this year. Dylan totaled 80 receptions, 1,185 yards and 12 touchdowns at receiver for the Bulldogs this past season.
Reyes is a speedy point guard. He played goalkeeper for Ceres High's Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III semifinalist varsity boys soccer team.
Sandhu filled a major role while leading Ceres High's junior-varsity boys hoops team to a 20-6 finish and second-place showing in the WAC (10-2). Joshneil gives the Bulldogs' varsity team a solid perimeter threat.
The top three teams in the WAC qualify for the postseason.
Central Catholic, Patterson, Ceres High, Central Valley, Livingston, Pacheco and Los Banos placed first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, last year.
"I want to see how successful we can be as a group," Marquez said. "I do believe we have the talent to compete for a league championship and playoff berth. We'll be a tough matchup for any team."
Marquez graduated from Ceres High in 1998.
Julio earned five varsity letters, including two in both basketball and baseball and one in football.
He pitched and majored in Native American Studies at UC Davis.
Marquez's and de la Porte's teams will face off twice in WAC play.
Julio and Brian played varsity basketball together for one season (1997-98) at Ceres High.
Julio Marquez and Brian de la Porte formed a friendship at Ceres High School.
Marquez and de la Porte played varsity boys basketball together for one season (1997-98).
Ceres High's gymnasium is named in honor of Brian's father Phil.
"It will be fun and exciting," Marquez said. "We faced off this summer. They got us. He (Brian) took it easy on us at the end."