Max Martz has been no stranger to the spotlight as a member of the Upper Arlington High School boys basketball team, having averaged 10.6 points and 4.2 rebounds through his first three seasons.
But the 6-foot-6 senior forward and University of Pennsylvania commit is looking forward to shouldering the load in a different fashion, as he could become the Golden Bears' primary scoring threat now that the program's all-time leading scorer and rebounder, Dane Goodwin, is playing at Notre Dame.
Goodwin, last year's Ohio Mr. Basketball and co-district Player of the Year, finished his career with 1,951 points and 817 rebounds.
"Dane leaves a big void to fill so that will be tough, but I am looking to step forward as a big-time player," Martz said. "Our team, though, has a lot of guys who can make plays. It's not all going to be on my back. (Josh) Rushin can make plays. C.J. (Karsatos) can score and having Sammy (Sass) back as our point guard will be big and he will be able to score. It definitely won't all fall on my shoulders."
Martz averaged 14.0 points and 4.8 rebounds last season as UA went 23-2 overall and 10-0 in the OCC-Central Division and reached a Division I district final before losing to Dublin Coffman 68-51. The Bears had beaten the Shamrocks twice during the regular season.
"Max has the chance to be special," 18th-year coach Tim Casey said. "Not that he hasn't been, but he will merge into that scoring role. He can be one of the better players in the state."
Sass, a 6-1 senior, averaged 6.4 points, 3.6 assists and 2.3 rebounds a year ago and played in a season-opening 46-45 loss to Huber Heights Wayne in the All-Ohio Nike Hoops Showcase on Dec. 1 at Pickerington North despite suffering a broken collarbone during a football game against Lancaster on Sept. 21.
Against Wayne, Martz had a game-high 26 points and Karsatos had eight points and 11 rebounds. Sass added four points, five rebounds and six assists.
"We're making progress," Casey said. "We have quite a few untested guys with the exception of Max, Josh Rushin and Sammy. We have a lot of new guys getting adjusted. We've made steady progress throughout the course of the preseason, but our early schedule is really tough. We have to come a long way in order to be the type of team we're capable of being."
Rushin, a 6-1 senior, will help anchor a deep group of guards that also includes 5-10 junior Freddy Wilkes, a transfer from Eastmoor Academy, and 6-3 sophomore Kobe Buford.
Karsatos, a 6-8 senior and son of former Ohio State quarterback Jim Karsatos who is being recruited by Air Force and Tennessee-Martin, will play center and power forward.
"I will be a center defensively, but offensively, I can play all around," Karsatos said.
"I've had an eye on contributing to the varsity team for the last couple years, but in this program, you have to pay your dues. We have a lot of talented guys. I think I've paid my dues. I've gained some college interest over the summer and this year stepping in, I think I can contribute a lot, definitely more than last year."
Rounding out the roster are seniors Zack Backiewicz (6-1, guard) and Mike Hargraves (5-9, guard), juniors John Basil (6-0, guard), Max Buckley (6-1, guard), Miles Eriksen (6-1, guard), David Robbins (6-2, forward), Jake Warinner (6-2, forward) and Clint Younkin (6-1, guard) and freshman Quinn Corna (6-2, forward).
Warinner averaged 10.5 points and 5.0 rebounds at New Albany last year.
UA begins pursuit of its fourth consecutive OCC-Central championship Friday, Dec. 7, at home against Central Crossing.
The Bears finished two games ahead of runner-up Coffman (8-2) in the league last season.
Dec. 1 -- Huber Heights Wayne in All-Ohio Nike Hoops Showcase at Pickerington North
*Dec. 7 -- vs. Central Crossing
Dec. 8 -- vs. Springfield
*Dec. 14 -- at Hilliard Davidson
*Dec. 21 -- vs. Westland
Dec. 29 -- vs. Melbourne (Australia) Ringwood Secondary College
*Jan. 4 -- vs. Marysville
Jan. 5 -- Eastmoor Academy in The Challenge at Africentric
Jan. 8 -- vs. Olentangy
*Jan. 11 -- vs. Dublin Coffman
Jan. 15 -- vs. Hartley
*Jan. 18 -- at Central Crossing
Jan. 19 -- vs. Willoughby Andrews Osborne Academy
Jan. 22 -- at Westerville North
*Jan. 25 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson
Jan. 26 -- at Chillicothe
Jan. 29 -- at Westerville Central
*Feb. 1 -- at Westland
Feb. 5 -- vs. Westerville South
*Feb. 8 -- at Marysville
*Feb. 15 -- at Dublin Coffman