Payson High School fans are scratching their noggins wondering what to expect from the newest edition of the Longhorn boys basketball team.
The conjecture is because the team will sport an entirely new look from past seasons when sharp-shooting Cody York starred and Kenny Hayes was a two-time East Coach of the Year.
The speculations are understandable — York and the nucleus of the 2008-2009 team graduated in the spring, Hayes has moved on to the college level and the Horns have a first-year head coach in Jared Swanson.
Because Swanson spent the last several years playing professionally in Australia, he is also an unknown among boosters and in coaching circles.
Although he’s spent time Down Under, which is not exactly a hotbed of basketball, his expectations won’t be much different from other coaches around Arizona.
“You can expect that we will put a team on the floor that will give 100 percent at all times,” Swanson said.
“Our style of play will be determined by what players are on the floor and what we can do to disrupt the other team’s flow.”
The new coach also admits that he and assistant Byron Quinlan are excited about the onset of the new season, which begins today, Nov. 24, in Winslow.
“The players are excited too,” he said.
“We have put in a lot of new stuff and the players have been very accepting to the coaches’ expectations.
“All the players have been working very hard and know that needs to continue in order to put us where we want to be at the end of the season.”
He anticipates the keys to success will be for the returning letter winners, including Ever Figueroa, Cody Waterman and Dakota Marshall, to provide leadership and guidance.
Also seniors Chamberlain Fitch, Jamie Montbleau and Trae Dunman must contribute along with the younger players.
“The underclassmen will have to get acclimated to high school varsity basketball in a hurry,” Swanson said.
On the coaching staff this year with Swanson and Quinlan are Joe Sanchez (freshmen), Randy Pryor (assistant freshmen), and Scott Novack (junior varsity).