When Jason Santos convened his first practice of the year at Dayton High, he didn't see a lot of familiar faces.
Santos had exactly one, yes that's right, one letterman back from last season. That is 6-5 center Bernardo Macias.
Which means Santos is esentially starting over with 12 new varsity players - Austin Fletcher, Jake Turner, Joey Doyle, Jayson Fraser, Taryn Aguilera, Steve Thompson, Jessie Evans, Josh Joyner, Ty Person, Davis Winebarger, Marcos Saylor and Jon Joyner.
Fletcher played two varsity games and averaged 2.5, while Doyle played three varsity games and averaged 2.3 a contest.
Santos, whose team hosts the annual Sutro Classic on Thursday, admits that the lack of experience may hamper his team's ability to get off to a fast start.
"It could take a while (to click)," Santos said. "As long as we're playing pretty good basketball by the end of the Rail City Classic (first week of Christmas vacation) I'll be happy. I have a long ways to go. Except for four minutes aginst Wooster we played well and then we had a complete meltdown.
"I've never had to deal with this before (so few lettermen back). We had a ton of seniors last year."
And, with only three players out of 13 6-foot-2 or better, the Dust Devils will be a different type of defensive team.
"We'll play a lot more zone," Santos said. "We won't be quite as much of an up-tempo team on offense. We'll be more of a team this year; get scoring frfom more guys."
In Macias, Santos has a strong post player. Macias shot 54 percent from the floor, averaged 6.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
"He's a strong player in the post," Santos said. "He played a lot as a sophomore last year. He's a lot stronger this year. He hit the weights hard in the off-season. He's definitely a threat in the post."
Fraser, a junior up from the JV team, starts at the point. Fletcher will be the other post player, and Turner and Doyle are slated to start at the wings.
"Turner shoots the 3-pointer," Santos said. "That is kind of what he does. Fraser is smart and has good vision. He (Fraser) does get turnover prone at times. Fletcher isn't as big as Doyle, but he has better post moves and his stronger (physically). Doyle is long and that will especially help in our zone defense."
Sophomore Winebarger and Thompson will back up at point guard, while the Joyner brothers will be back-ups at the post. Evans, Saylor, Person and Aguilera will battle for time at wing.
The Dust Devils, who were 13-13 last year, are expecting a tough time against 1A teams.
Santos said, based on returning players, that Elko, Fallon, Sparks and South Tahoe should be very good. The Dayton coach admitted he didn't know a lot about Fernley, Spring Creek or Truckee.
Santos will get a close-up look at Truckee, which is playing in Dayton's Sutro Classic.
According to Santos, all games played against 1A teams will count in the standings, and eight of the nine 1A teams will participate in the regionals. The site for the post-season tournament has yet to be determined.