"His minutes started increasing and he just started getting better," Sutherland said of Dawson's improvement. "He knows the game, he knows how to play, and he works well with all the guys we got coming back. He's a real good basketball player and knows how to play the game. He's really smart, very athletic."
Athleticism across the board will be one of the Redskins' strengths this season, Sutherland said, as well as team unity.
"They're very athletic, they're a good group of kids that get along very well with each other," he said. "You can't build the cohesiveness that they have because they've been playing together for so long.
"They were undefeated at the middle school level and then last year, we were very successful, the JV was very successful. They just bring that - I don't know how to explain it, but they just mesh very well together and it elevates everyone around them."
In addition to a strong backcourt, 6-foot-4 junior forward Henry Sorsaia and junior Alex Estep will round out the starting positions. Junior Garrett DeFries represents the Redskins' sixth man, Sutherland said, the first player from a potentially deep bench.
"I think, if all things work out, we could go 9, 10, maybe 11 deep," he said citing a talented sophomore class.
If all goes well, Hurricane could potentially threaten to reach the State Tournament, Sutherland said, but the Redskins will focus on simpler goals first, like being the first Hurricane team to record back-to-back winning seasons in more than 10 years.
That goal shouldn't be too difficult to attain with the returning experience, but only time will tell if the Redskins' talent will reach further heights this year.
Hurricane opens the season with a visit to Point Pleasant at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.