Some truths are self-evident for the Upper Arlington High School boys basketball team, such as the Golden Bears running their offense through University of Notre Dame commit Dane Goodwin and Division I prospect Max Martz.

Goodwin, a 6-foot-5 senior, and Martz, a 6-6 junior, have played every position at some point the past few years, but 17th-year coach Tim Casey plans to use both as shooting guards this season as UA pursues a third consecutive OCC-Central Division championship and a fourth Division I district title in five years.

A side effect is that the Bears will be undersized at times in the post, where 6-0 seniors Casey Jones and Will Grabovac will be among the leaders even as Goodwin and Martz occasionally guard opposing post players and a few taller players try to earn more playing time.

"Casey, (6-1 junior) Josh Rushin and I are pretty good at offensive rebounds," said Grabovac, who played point guard last season. "It's a natural transition for me even though it's a different role, and I saw it coming. We run our offense through Dane and Max, of course, and with them more out on the wing now, we needed guys to play (forward) and (center). It's a challenge, but I'm looking forward to it.

"The biggest thing for us right now is our physicality. We're a tough team and we're gritty."

UA, which opened Dec. 5 at Wellington, finished 24-3 overall and 9-1 in the league last season. The Bears lost to Pickerington North 64-44 in a regional semifinal.

Goodwin averaged 25.5 points and 9.6 rebounds a year ago and scored 26 or more points 13 times. He had committed to Ohio State as a freshman but decommitted in June after the hiring of Chris Holtmann, then committed to Notre Dame in early July.

Goodwin entered the season with a program-record 1,351 career points.

Martz, who averaged 11.0 points and 4.6 rebounds last season and has scholarship offers from Bowling Green, Dartmouth, Marist, Pennsylvania, Stony Brook, Toledo and Western Carolina, embraced his move outside.

"I have always kind of played on the wing and the wing is my natural position. I can play inside and post up, but me and Dane on the wing is the most natural for us," said Martz, who has grown an inch since last season and bulked up to 200 pounds from 180. "I wanted to work on being stronger. I am getting stronger and driving better to the (basket)."

Sammy Sass, a 6-0 junior, likely will be UA's primary point guard, although Casey said that Jones and 5-9 junior Mike Hargraves also might see time at that spot.

"Sammy is going to be a guy we have to count on," Casey said. "We have a lot of guys who haven't played a ton of minutes for us. We have Dane, Max and (Grabovac) and those guys have played significant minutes and understand what it takes, but they have to raise those other guys' level. We need more leadership.

"The biggest thing I see with Dane is his attention to detail, his leadership (and) his work habits. They have elevated a ton. He is starting to understand how he has to prepare (to play in college) and is having a positive effect on the group as a whole. That's what we need. That's what a senior should be."

Rounding out the roster are juniors Zack Backiewicz (6-0, guard), C.J. Karsatos (6-7, forward) and Josh Russell (6-0, guard), sophomores Liam Keethler (5-11, guard) and Max Mollman (6-7, forward) and freshman Kobe Buford (6-3, forward).

UA begins OCC-Central play Friday, Dec. 8, at Central Crossing. The Bears won the league by two games last season, ahead of Dublin Coffman (7-3).

UA plays at home just once in its first eight games, against Chillicothe on Dec. 16.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

Schedules

Dec. 5 -- at Wellington

*Dec. 8 -- at Central Crossing

*Dec. 15 -- at Hilliard Davidson

Dec. 16 -- vs. Chillicothe

*Dec. 22 -- at Westland

Dec. 28 -- Columbia (Mo.) Father Tolton Catholic in Joe Machens Great Eight Classic at Jefferson City (Mo.)

Dec. 29 -- Craigmont (Tenn.) in Joe Machens Great Eight Classic

Dec. 30 -- TBD in Joe Machens Great Eight Classic

*Jan. 5 -- vs. Marysville

Jan. 6 -- Africentric in The Challenge at Pickerington North

Jan. 9 -- at Olentangy

*Jan. 12 -- at Dublin Coffman

Jan. 15 -- Huber Heights Wayne in Flyin' to the Hoop at Kettering Fairmont

*Jan. 19 -- vs. Central Crossing

Jan. 23 -- vs. Westerville North

*Jan. 26 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson

Jan. 27 -- Eastmoor Academy in Jared Sullinger Ohio Scholastic Play-by-Play Classic at Ohio Dominican University

Jan. 30 -- vs. Westerville Central

*Feb. 2 -- vs. Westland

Feb. 6 -- at Westerville South

*Feb. 9 -- at Marysville

*Feb. 16 -- vs. Dublin Coffman

*League contest