Upper Arlington High School boys basketball coach Tim Casey has coached a few memorable teams in his 15 seasons with the Golden Bears, but this year's version excites and intrigues him as much as any.

Upper Arlington High School boys basketball coach Tim Casey has coached a few memorable teams in his 15 seasons with the Golden Bears, but this year's version excites and intrigues him as much as any.

Onno Steger, a 6-foot-6 senior forward and Western Carolina University recruit, and Dane Goodwin, a 6-4 sophomore guard/forward and Ohio State commit, lead a squad that Casey thinks can be mentioned in the same breath as UA's Division I district championship teams of 2014 and 2007.

The 2014 team became UA's first to make the state tournament since 1939 and lost to Lakewood St. Edward 62-58 in overtime in the final.

"It's probably the deepest group I have ever had," said Casey, whose team opens Friday, Dec. 4, with an OCC-Central Division game at Thomas Worthington. "They are all capable of playing, depending on how situations develop. It might be the first time that if we have an injury, we won't have a significant drop-off. Now the tough thing as a coach is trying to find minutes for all of those guys. ...

"That's been my message. I am going to try to play more guys than I ever have, but I can't tell them when those opportunities will be there. My hope is when they get an opportunity, they play so well that it is tough to get them off the floor."

Goodwin led UA in scoring (12.7 points per game) and rebounds (5.9) last season, when it finished 17-6 overall, went 11-3 in the OCC-Central to place second behind Dublin Coffman (13-1) and lost to Groveport 44-33 in the second round of the district tournament.

Steger averaged 9.1 points and 4.3 rebounds.

UA also returns 6-3 senior forward/center Cole Pirwitz, who averaged 4.0 points and 4.9 rebounds.

The Bears got a welcome addition when 6-1 senior point guard D.J. Tyree moved into the school district. Tyree, a three-year starter between Pickerington Central (2012-14) and Northland (2014-15), was facing competition during the preseason from 5-10 junior Andy Hummer and 5-11 sophomore Will Grabovac.

"Our point guards like to get out and run," Steger said. "If we get a long rebound or a turnover, we'll run. Transition buckets can decide the game. Those are easy points."

Rounding out the roster are seniors Nick Kahler (5-11, guard), Jake Kern (6-0, guard), Zane Laws (6-2, guard) and Joe Levitt (6-1, forward), junior Justin Whitcomb (6-2, guard), sophomore Nate Hellstedt (6-2, forward) and freshman Max Martz (6-2, guard).

Despite what Casey calls his team's "spurtability," he does not plan for the Bears to abandon their traditionally patient, sometimes grinding style. But he doesn't plan to limit his players, either.

"I want to play as fast as anybody, but we're not going to play fast at the expense of bad shot selection and that type of thing. That is entirely up to the group," said Casey, whose team's home opener is a league contest Monday, Dec. 7, against Central Crossing.

"Sometimes you have groups that take on certain characteristics, and if this group tries to play faster, we have the personnel to do that. But we won't play fast to get a shot up in 10 seconds. But we have the chance to get it up the floor, score quickly and have some spurtability."