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Posted On: 07/1/18 1:40 PM
Several talented ball players have graduated from Upper Arlington and Dublin Coffman’s 2017-18 roster, which means the OCC-Central is up for grabs, right? Nah. Not really.
Even with last year’s Mr. Ohio, Dane Goodwin, and Coffman’s balanced 2018 class out the door, their combined division record of 18-2 shouldn’t take much of a hit this season. Both programs have reloaded. And even if their schemes and personnel will change, the success remains.
Assuming that the rumors of Alonzo Gaffney leaving Garfield Heights are true, nobody in the state is matching the size and skill of Max Martz, CJ Karsatos, and Max Mollman.
Martz, who is involved in nearly all of our bold predictions, will do the bulk of the scoring. It’s mostly because of the Penn commit’s ball skills, confidence, size, and shooting ability off the bounce. But his potency on that end will be aided by the mismatch problem his teammates provide. Is Marysville going to show up at UA and put their third largest guy on him and let Karsatos eat? Will teams just put their best athlete on Martz? Look, it’s a problem no matter what.
Karsatos is a 6’8” player with guard skills on the perimeter. Although he’s not as consistent as we’d like him to be, you can count him in for a couple impressive playmaking moments each game. He’ll score inside and out and be a nice complimentary rebounder and ball-handler for UA.
After hardly playing a year ago, Mollman should earn minutes with his toughness, rebounding, and defense. He’s moving quite well with All Ohio Red this year and can switch onto guards in pick-and-roll situations. Mollman is the enforcer and rim protector of the group.
Look, we’re in no way trying to take away from what Goodwin provided. He was the most accomplished hooper in Ohio’s 2018 class and deserved Mr. Ohio.
All we’re trying to say is that Martz is ready to be the featured guy and he comes into next year with a plethora of ideal role players. Along with the three-headed monster of forwards is a group of guards in Sammy Sass, Kobe Buford, and Josh Russell. While Russell will unselfishly play off the ball and shoot the rock, the other two provide athleticism, dribble drives, and on-ball defense.
There’s not much left to say. In summation, if defenses key on Martz, they’ll pay because of Karsatos, Buford, and Sass. He’s also surrounded by rebounders, defensive specialists, shooters, and solid playmakers. Martz will thrive.
Nick Carlson, Trevor Grady, and Trip Zinni may have all been true role players for the Rocks last season, but they provided stability and size. Although Luke Bartemes will slide in nicely to a starting forward role, they need frontcourt depth more than ever going into next season.
This division will come down to their two games against UA. As we noted, their size is a major strength. On the other hand, Coffman has collegiate guard talent, led by a dynamic scoring threat in Dominiq Penn. Although guards usually shine at the high school level, we forecast UA dominating possession, the glass, and pace against them.
Coffman should beat up on most of the teams in Central Ohio next season. However, we’re not sure they matchup with the brass of the OCC in 2018-19 — UA, Bradley, and Pickerington Central.
These five are pretty obvious choices, as all earned First Team honors a year ago.
On the outside looking in is Marysville sophomore guard Jack Christian. The sharp-shooter slowed down throughout the season as teams keyed in on stopping his outside jumper. He wasn’t quite athletic enough to create separation. His lack of dynamic speed remains a question going into next year, but he still seems like a guy capable of taking a huge leap forward this year.