From the top down, almost everything is new for the DeSales High School boys basketball team.

Not only do the Stallions have a new coach in Pat Murphy, but just three players return from a team that went 18-7 overall last season and reached a Division II district semifinal one year after capturing the program's first district title since 2010.

With no players taller than 6-foot-3, Murphy and his players expected to be forming an identity well into a season that began Dec. 4 with a 94-34 win over Patriot Prep Academy.

"We're kind of position-less right now," Murphy said. "On defense, we have to guard positions. (Junior guard) Anthony (Sciarroni) will have to guard post players this year. That's who we are. We don't have a lot of positions assigned."

The 6-0 Sciarroni, 6-2 junior guard Kayin Derden and 5-10 sophomore guard Kobe Righter are the Stallions' only returning letterwinners. Last season, Derden averaged 9.5 points and scored 20 or more points three times.

"I have to be a two-way player so I can be strong on both offense and defense," Derden said. "Our defensive scheme is completely different this year. We have to adjust to being smaller. We're learning about that now. It's different."

Murphy replaced Joe Bills, who resigned after four seasons to take a teaching position at Upper Arlington.

Changes in the Stallions' style of play largely were necessitated by the graduation losses of 6-8 center Caden Sanchez, the program's all-time leader in blocks as well as its second-leading rebounder and fifth-leading scorer who now plays for High Point University, and 6-5 guard Luke Hippler, who now plays at John Carroll.

Sanchez and Hippler combined to average 25.5 points and 16.9 rebounds last season.

"(Bills) did plays, plays, plays because we had all the positions filled out. This year, since we have almost all guards, we have to be more creative," Sciarroni said. "I enjoy that."

Rounding out the roster are senior Donya Harris (5-10), juniors Daniel Bogue (6-2), Chris Karras (6-3) and Matthias Kaylor (6-0), sophomores Owen Faulkner (5-10) and Chris Fleisher (6-2) and freshmen Jayden Hawkins-White (6-0) and Desmond Watson (6-2).

DeSales went 5-3 in the CCL last season to finish second behind St. Charles (8-0). The Stallions begin league play Dec. 15 at home against Watterson, the last of three consecutive home games to start the season.

Murphy, a 1992 Ready graduate who was hired in May to succeed Bills, served as athletics director at Hartley from 2013-17. He previously coached at Briggs (2001-02), Ready (2002-06) and Lebanon (2006-11) and has a career record of 99-119.

Although Murphy enjoyed life as an administrator, he admitted he was eager to coach again.

"I learned a lot (while I was an AD)," Murphy said. "I didn't pay attention to schemes and that kind of stuff. I looked at culture and how people did things. I watched and learned. I was around a pretty good coach in (Hartley football coach) Brad Burchfield the last four years and I tried to absorb and learn some things.

"We're not that big on Xs and Os. It's not the way we do things. That's what for me has been exciting, to take the lessons and translate them. Being back in the fire, it's a different intensity. I am excited to build some things instead of evaluating coaches and watching them do it and learning from them."

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

Schedules

BOYS BASKETBALL

Dec. 4 -- vs. Patriot Prep Academy

Dec. 11 -- vs. Johnstown

*Dec. 15 -- vs. Watterson

Dec. 16 -- at Licking Heights

*Dec. 22 -- vs. Hartley

Dec. 30 -- vs. Zanesville Rosecrans

*Jan. 5 -- at Ready

Jan. 6 -- at Walnut Ridge

*Jan. 12 -- at St. Charles

Jan. 13 -- vs. Beechcroft

Jan. 16 -- vs. Lancaster

Jan. 20 -- at Granville

Jan. 23 -- vs. Whitehall

*Jan. 26 -- at Watterson

Jan. 27 -- at Mount Vernon

*Feb. 2 -- at Hartley

Feb. 3 -- at Kettering Fairmont

Feb. 6 -- at Bloom-Carroll

*Feb. 9 -- vs. Ready

Feb. 10 -- at Sparta Highland

*Feb. 16 -- vs. St. Charles

Feb. 17 -- vs. Dresden Tri-Valley

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the DeSales girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Dec. 9 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome

Dec. 12 -- Home vs. Marysville

BOWLING

*Dec. 7 -- Hartley at Capri Lanes

*Dec. 12 -- Boys: St. Charles at HP Lanes

*Dec. 13 -- Linden-McKinley at Capri Lanes

GYMNASTICS

Dec. 9 -- Buckeye Valley and Worthington Kilbourne at Central Ohio Gymnastics and Cheerleading

HOCKEY

*Dec. 8 -- Olentangy at Chiller Easton

*Dec. 9 -- Thomas Worthington at Chiller Easton

*Dec. 10 -- St. Charles at OhioHealth Ice Haus

SWIMMING & DIVING

Dec. 8 -- Bexley and Hartley at Columbus School for Girls

Dec. 9 -- Wellington Jaguar Classic at Columbus Aquatics Center

WRESTLING

Dec. 9 -- Wolfpack Invitational at Worthington Kilbourne

*League contest