Central Valley’s varsity boys basketball team made its last playoff appearance during the 2016-17 school year.
Current Hawks’ leader Mike Rodriguez was an assistant coach back then.
Central Valley will try to earn its first postseason appearance under Rodriguez’s direction this winter.
“Every day, they work hard,” he said. “They got good attitudes. They all get along. We’re headed in the right direction.”
Central Valley’s top returners are Kadin Manor (Sr.), Angel Zamarripa (Jr.), Andy Souksavath (Sr.) and Juan Brambila (Sr.).
“Kadin and Angel are good offensive players,” Rodriguez said. “They want the ball in their hands.”
The Hawks’ top newcomers are Yoshi Kumar (So.), Jordan Lombardo (So.), Xavier Valencia (Jr.) and Amari Taylor (Jr.).
Kumar and Valencia suited up for Central Valley’s junior-varsity boys hoops team a season ago.
Lombardo and Taylor were teammates at the frosh-soph level.
“You have to adjust your playing style every year,” Rodriguez said. “You get a different level of talent. We’re so young. We want to continue to get better. Defensively, this is one of the better groups we’ve had in years.”
Central Valley compiled a 10-17 overall record and placed fifth in the Central California Conference standings (4-8) this past winter.
Golden Valley (23-6, 12-0) won the CCC crown.
El Capitan (21-7, 10-2), Buhach Colony (16-13, 7-5) and Merced (11-17, 5-7) took second, third and fourth, respectively.
The Hawks finished ahead of Patterson (5-23, 2-10) and Atwater (9-18, 2-10).
“Our tough preseason schedule will prepare us for league,” Rodriguez said. “From what I’ve seen from other teams, everything is up for grabs. I think we can be in the top three or four if we do what we’re supposed to do. We’ll be tough defensively. We’re trying to find our way offensively. The guys are still adjusting to their roles.”