The OPRF boys basketball team will start 10 players this season.

Not quite, but second-year head coach Matt Maloney insists that this year’s club has enough talent to form two varsity teams.

“The competition is so fierce at every spot that we will for sure be running different lineups throughout the season,” said Maloney. “It’s good because we’ll be able to adjust to who we are playing and give opponents different looks.”

The forward positions are likely set in stone with the return of 6-foot-8 senior Jeff Dirkin and 6-3 senior Andrew Godbold. Dirkin, who has announced that he’ll play for Rollins College next year – a Division II school in Florida – averaged 12 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots last season. Godbold was also a top contributor, tallying 13 points and nine rebounds per game.

“It’s nice to have Dirkin and Godbold back in the lineup; they’re dependable, but I’m pleased with how the entire lineup is looking,” said Maloney. “The team did very well during the summer, most of the time without returning starters.”

The Huskies, who won over 30 games in the off-season, also return Mortell Flowers (6-4, guard), Aaron Levin (6-6, center), Torger Philosophos (6-4, guard/forward), Antonio Foster (6-foot, guard), Jordan Foster (5-10, guard) and John Weinheimer (6-4, guard), who has fully recovered from a serious thigh bruise that sidelined him for over a month last season.

Two newcomers that Maloney said are sure to see plenty of minutes on the court are Ka’darryl Bell and Steve Ramsey. Bell, a sophomore, is a 5-10 shooting guard. He was the leading scorer on the sophomore team last season. Ramsey is a 6-2 junior guard/forward who earned the respect of coaches for his play over the summer, Maloney said.

“We were in the championship bracket of every shootout we played over the summer and it was because of players like Ramsey,” said Maloney. “The chemistry began during the off-season. Hopefully, it will carry on.”

One of the goals for the Huskies is improving on last season’s 6-6 record in the West Suburban (Silver) Conference. With conference champs Proviso West graduating many of its top starters, the Huskies may have a shot at the title. Lyons Township, York and Glenbard West are also likely to contend for the top spot.

Maloney is hoping his team doesn’t get off to a rough start like it did last year when the Huskies lost three straight, but then turned things around to win seven consecutive games.

“It’s not good to get off to a rough start. We want to grab some wins early so we can just continue to build off that,” he said. “We take on some very good teams to start the season, so we’ll definitely be tested early.”

The Huskies begin the season at the Lane Tech Thanksgiving Tournament, taking on Notre Dame in the first round on Nov. 23 (5:15 p.m.). OPRF welcomes York in its home opener on Dec. 3 (7:30 p.m.).

Up Close

Key returners: Jeff Dirkin, Andrew Godbold

Newcomers:

Steve Ramsey, Ka’darryl Bell

2008 record:

13-14 overall, 6-6 in WSC Silver

Tidbit:

There’s no regular-season game against Fenwick to possibly use as a momentum builder.

2009-10 Home Schedule

Date opponent Time

Thurs., Dec. 3 York 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 11 Downers S. 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 18 Senn 7 p.m.
Fri., Jan 15 Proviso West 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 6 Lincoln Park 3 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 12 Hinsdale C. 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 19 Lyons Township 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 20 Morton 7:30 p.m.

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...