Central Valley High School's revamped varsity boys basketball team welcomes the challenge of trying to sustain its standard of excellence.
The Hawks lost a wealth of talent to graduation this past spring, including starters Jaron Dickson, Daevon Brown, Parker Griffin, Devon Bolivar and Nimrat Chahal. They had a combined 11 years of varsity experience.
Jaron averaged 23.9 points, 9.2 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game on his way to being named Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player a year ago.
"The beauty of last year's team, they were experienced," said Central Valley leader Darryl Dickson, who was voted WAC Coach of the Year the previous two seasons. "It's tough to lose those guys. It makes us a lot younger. It's going to take some time. They need to gain varsity-level experience. It's faster. There's a lot more physicality. They'll ultimately get it. When they do, they'll be awfully tough to beat."
The Hawks have just two players with varsity experience: Simeron Singh (Sr.) and Nathaniel Perine (Sr.).
Newcomers Reuben Rodriguez (Sr.), Ralph Afortunado (Jr.), Gurshan Chahal (Jr.), Oso Fregoso (Jr.), David Glukhovskiy (Jr.), Jacob Guerrero (Jr.), Erik Mejia (Jr.), Harinder Sidhu (Jr.), Josh Sidhu (Jr.), Jaspreet Singh (Jr.), Wilbert Soriano (Jr.), Karnveer Chahal (So.) and David Serrano (So.) round out Central Valley's junior-laden roster.
"The chemistry is exceptional," Dickson said. "They're great kids. There are no egos. They're easy to coach. They're not afraid to play anybody. They're up for challenges."
Glukhovskiy filled a major role while leading Central Valley's frosh-soph boys basketball team to a 24-1 overall record and tie for first place in the WAC standings (11-1) with Patterson.
Harinder Sidhu, Jaspreet Singh and Gurshan Chahal were also major contributors.
"David (Glukhovskiy) will be a big part of the plan," Dickson said. "He's an all-round great player with a high motor. He can shoot the ball. He can pass. He can rebound. He could have played varsity last year. He has some big shoes to fill."
The Hawks' starting lineup features Glukhovskiy (guard), Harinder Sidhu (guard), Gurshan Chahal (guard), Jaspreet Singh (forward) and Mejia (forward).
"We don't have a lot of size," Dickson said. "We're small this year. We shoot the ball really well. We have good team chemistry. You can really see the potential."
Central Valley posted a program-best 22-4 overall record, finished first overall in the WAC standings (12-0) for the first-time ever and secured its second consecutive playoff berth during the 2014-15 school year.
"The expectations never change," Dickson said. We expect to win league and compete for a section title. We better make the playoffs. I'll be disappointed if we don't."