Since his freshman year, Benton senior Chol Ater spent his winters on the hardwood and his fall months on the football field.

His winters will continue to look the same after graduation, the only difference is that he will be competing at the collegiate level. The senior guard recently committed to Iowa Central Community College to further his education and basketball career.

“I was in contact with the coaches for a few weeks. I felt like we already had that relationship after talking for a few days,” Ater said. “I’m blessed to get this opportunity to play at the next level.”

The Cardinal averaged 15.7 points, 3.5 assists, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game this past season. Ater closed out his senior campaign with 408 points and his high school career with a total of 1,077 points. He surpassed his 1,000th career point at the varsity level in just three seasons.

He also was named to the 2020 All-News-Press NOW Boys Basketball team.

“You could just see the light coming on, so to speak, with him as he continued to play and gain experience,” said Benton head basketball coach Gary Belcher said. “You could just see him develop physically and mentally.”

The basketball court wasn’t the only stage Ater shined on during his time at Benton. The senior standout finished his senior season with 985 rushing yards, 791 receiving yards, and 17 touchdowns.

Choosing between football and basketball wasn’t an easy choice for Ater.

“I knew I could go for either one so, it was just a tough decision. At the end of the day, it was all about what’s best for me and my family,” Ater said.

Belcher said he is confident in Ater’s decision.

“I think he will continue to grow just from the simple fact that (basketball) is going to be his sole focus moving forward,” Belcher said. “To go on and to be able to play at least two more years — and we’re hopeful after he finishes his commitment at Iowa Central that he will be able to play two more somewhere else — that just shows the younger kids that are coming through our program and through Benton, in general, that there are opportunities out there that if you work for it, you can further your career not only athletically but academically as well.”

Kristen Carver can be reached at kristen.carver@newspressnow.com Follow her on Twitter: @NPNowCarver