"He has to be thought of as being one of the best," Maas said.
While Ottumwa's core is strong, the Bulldogs will need a boost from some of its younger, less experienced players.
"Some of the younger guys will have to step up to replace Joe Wetrich and Jacob Gardner," Maas said.
Some of the younger guys who will be vying for a varsity spot include sophomores Gavin Dostal, Jack Hardie, Jacob Bjerke, Shane Wolfley and freshmen Trey Thomas and Wyatt Crosby. After a tremendous season in 2012, Ottumwa's goals remain high.
"I think the guys have high goals for themselves," Maas said. "Our two main goals are to win conference again and make it to the state tourney."
Ottumwa kicks off its season at 10 a.m. Monday at the Indianola Country Club.
To follow Andy Heintz's Twitter feed, go to @heintz23