Less than a year ago, Trent Rider wasn't even sure he'd being playing basketball for Southern Fulton.

But when Rider, the Indians' ace pitcher, recently signed with the College of Charleston, he made the decision to play his senior of hoops. Now, he is the Public Opinion Male Athlete of the Week.

"They encouraged dual-sport athletes," Rider said. "I told them it was my senior year, and I had the chance to maybe hit 1,000 points, so why not? I'm not regretting it a bit. I wouldn't push myself as much as coach (Kent) Hendershot does."

This week, Rider led the Indians to a win with an 18-point performance against Everett, and he followed it up with 22 points and eight rebounds in a defeat of Forbes Road.

"He's working hard in the post to score inside," Hendershot said. "Knowing that was one of our voids this year, he's taken that on. He's become very strong on the blocks and is more disciplined in staying underneath, working hard to get the ball."

Standing at 6-foot-5, Rider felt the pressure to help fill the shoes of Connor Litton, who averaged a double-double for the Indians a year ago.

"Last year, we could go down court and chuck up a shot, and we could count on Connor to get the ball," Rider said. "This year, there's not that force. We have to make smarter decisions."

Rider's been smart to change the way he plays, at least a little bit.

"From last year to this year, the biggest difference is I haven't shot as many threes," Rider said. "I'll still have two or three a game, but I've been more aggressive around the basket, attacking the rim more. I'm rebounding more, because if you're rebounding, it'll get you more opportunities to score."

The strategy is paying off. Rider is averaging 15.3 points per game this year, and even though baseball is his main focus athletically, he isn't throwing in the basketball towel just yet.

"He's absolutely working just as hard as everybody on the team," Hendershot said. "He's being a leader, and trying to work to do the little things that we need done."

Trent Rider, Southern Fulton

Sport: Boys basketball

Grade: Senior

Position: Guard/Forward

Height: 6-foor-5

Parents: Brian and Tracy Rider

Other interests: Rider also plays baseball for the Indians, and he enjoys music and hanging out with friends.

Surprising fact: After an 18-point performance against Everett on Tuesday, Rider found a quarter in his left shoe. He's decided to leave it there Wednesday and followed it up with a 22-point, 8-rebound game to earn Athlete of the Week honors. 

Favorite team: New York Yankees

Athlete most admired: Clayton Kershaw

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