A former St. Joseph High School basketball standout is about to start his second season of coaching the Orcutt Academy boys basketball team.
Ryan Smalley's second season at the helm of Orcutt's squad will commence Dec. 1 with a 3 p.m. game against Ojai Villanova Prep in the Santa Clarita Christian Tournament.
The lone starter Smalley has back from the team that went 6-17, including 2-12 in the Los Padres League, is the Spartans' leading scorer and rebounder from last season.
Marc Pyle, a 6-foot-5 senior center, averaged 11 points and 6.7 rebounds a game for Smalley's Spartans last season.
This season, "We're planning to use Marc as part of a double post inside," with 6-4 senior Dane Weeks, said Smalley.
Weeks is one of seven returners Smalley said he had from last season. Besides Pyle and Weeks, Smalley said at press time that his other starters figure to be junior James Tilley at point guard, senior Colin Otremba at shooting guard and junior Noah Richards on the wing.
All of them played for the Spartans last season.
Smalley said senior Dylan Gomez, another returnee, figures to be the first player off the bench for the Spartans.
"He's a post player, but he has experience and he can fill any position for us," Orcutt's second-year coach said.
Smalley said the Spartans intend to mix a zone look with man-to-man pressure on defense.
"On offense, we'll look to run. We'll look to get the ball inside when we do slow it down, but what we do defensively and offensively will depend partly on the opponent."
Smalley said he hopes to go eight players deep in his rotation but, "again, that depends on the opponent, all that kind of stuff."
The Spartans will open their LPL campaign at Templeton Dec. 12. They are not scheduled to play a home game until Jan. 2, against Santa Maria.
Orcutt Academy will again play its home games at Lakeview Junior High School.