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Coach believes CV boys hoops can contend for playoff spot
Varsity newcomer Villasenor will fill major role this season
Central Valley will rely heavily on junior guard Daniel Villasenor this winter. A back injury forced Villasenor to miss the majority of his sophomore season. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Junior guard Daniel Villasenor will fill a major role during his first season with Central Valley High School's varsity boys basketball program this winter.

A back injury forced Villasenor to miss the majority of his sophomore season at the JV level.

"He's our best offensive player," first-year head coach Mike Rodriguez said. "He can shoot the 3. He can put the ball on the floor and get to the basket. He's capable of putting up big numbers."

Central Valley's supporting cast consists of David Serrano (senior center), Alonzo Bustos (senior guard), Miguel Jimenez (junior guard), Grant Neang (junior guard), Max Sanchez (junior guard), Hanson Hy (senior guard), Tony Gaut (junior center), Keven Figueroa (junior forward), Phil Jackson (junior forward) and Munraj Singh (junior forward).

Serrano, Bustos, Jimenez, Neang and Sanchez are returning players.

Hy transferred back to Central Valley from Grace Davis.

Gaut, Figueroa, Jackson and Singh competed at the lower-level as sophomores.

"Everybody is going to contribute," Rodriguez said.

The 2017-18 Hawks will try to secure their fourth postseason in five years.

Central Valley compiled a 10-16 overall record and finished in third place in the Western Athletic Conference standings (6-4) last winter.

The Hawks lost 98-62 to Rodriguez in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II out-bracket playoff game.

Serrano, a 6-foot-3 275-pound post player, scored 12 points in defeat

David was named the WAC's Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman for the 2017 football campaign.

"We got a good mix of players," Rodriguez said. "We're definitely capable of getting to the playoffs. It will depend on how well we shoot the ball."

It's no secret Central Valley will rely heavily on the 3-pointer.

"It can be entertaining or make for some long nights," Rodriguez said. "If we're not hitting our shots, we have to do other things well. Play defense and rebound."

The top three teams in the WAC will be awarded postseason berths.

Patterson (9-1), Ceres High (7-3) and Central Valley qualified last year.

"I actually think the league is going to be competitive," Rodriguez said. "A lot of the teams are scrappy. Patterson will be the team to beat because they always have a lot of talent."