EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ -- The East Brunswick boys basketball team will open the 2019-2020 season at home Friday at 6 p.m. against St. Joseph of Metuchen.

Head coach Mark Motusesky, who is beginning his seventh season leading the program, has four returning letter winners from last year's 9-15 team. One of them is 6-foot-7 center Devin Kennedy, who gives East Brunswick an element some other Greater Middlesex Conference teams may not have.

"Devin is looking to be one of the better post men in the county," Motusesky said.

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Along with Kennedy, two senior guards, Ricardo Gomez and Max Tischhuaser, and one junior guard, Jackson Bayuk, return for the Bears.

"The guard play should help us compete in the tough Red Division," Motusesky said. "Senior forward Nate Levitt also provides excellent leadership and guidance."

Players who have spent the pre-season competing for minutes include freshman forward Jalen Pichardo (6-2), junior forward Logan Witkowski (6-1), junior forward Brendan Devlin (6-1), sophomore point guard Justin Black (5-10), sophomore forward Lukas Blyznyuk (6-3), senior point guard Dylan McCann (5-9), junior guard Jordan Williams (5-11), senior guard Desola Awoyode (5-10) and junior guard Zach Zebro (6-0).

"This team put in a ton of work in the off-season getting stronger and becoming a team that is united and looking to make a big improvement," Motusesky said. "They play really hard and together and are looking to surprise some people this year.

"We are looking to improve off of last year and are not taking a back seat to anyone."

Following Friday's opener, the Bears travel to Woodbridge for a 3 p.m. game on Monday and will participate in the Brunswick Classic at New Brunswick High School beginning Friday, Dec. 27.