But Hernandez never imagined that 16 games in his team would have won three tournaments, run up a record of 15-1, be ranked No. 2 in the state and No. 1 in Southern California.
Heading into Orange Empire Conference play, Irvine Valley has already matched its win total from the 2008-09 season when it went 14-17.
The Lasers are picked as the favorite along with Riverside and Saddleback to win a conference title.
"My first thought in why we are doing so well is that we have guys that are versatile," said Hernandez, who is in his 15th year of guiding Irvine Valley. "They are really interchangeable. All of our kids are so skilled. They can all shoot it and dribble it and pass it and rebound. That has a lot to do with our success.
"We also have depth. And I think best of all is that we have great character. Nobody has questioned anything. No one has squabbled about shot attempts or minutes. No one is checking the box scores."
Irvine Valley's best three-game stretch of the season came in December at the Saddleback tournament.
IVC defeated three of the top-ranked teams in the state, Trade Tech, San Bernardino Valley and Saddleback to win that title and improve to 14-1.
The Lasers are led by sophomore forward Max Carrier, freshman guard Durrell Norman, freshman forwards Joe Eberhard and Travis Fulton and sophomore guard Travis Ballard.
"We thought we would be good, we just didn't know to what degree," Hernandez said. "Now I think we are one of about a dozen teams that could win the state championship."