Morton senior Ryan Altenberger has made a lot of news this year as a baseball player.

The slick-fielding shortstop played in a national tournament this summer and he signed a national letter of intent this month to continue his diamond career at Xavier University.

Let’s not forget Altenberger is a heck of a basketball player.

Now that the 6-foot guard has recovered from knee surgery that slowed him last basketball season, he’s poised to have an outstanding final season on the court for the Potters.

“Ryan is one of the best guards in the area,” said Morton boys basketball coach Jarrett Brown. “He scored 14 points a game for us last year even though he was dragging his knee around a lot and getting a ton of defensive attention because of our inability to score.

“He looks strong and explosive again, and I’m sure he’ll be at the top of the list on every opponent’s scouting report,” Brown said. “We’ll go as he goes. Ryan is a tough competitor. You have to be a tough competitor to be a Division I athlete.”

It appears Altenberger will have lots of help this season on the court. He’s one of seven players Jarrett considers starters.

The others are seniors Tucker Anderson, Cooper Kraft and Patrick King, junior Zack Byrne and sophomores Barik Olden and Jarrett Crider.

Olden and Crider each got a substantial taste of varsity basketball as freshmen, especially toward the end of the season.

“We need those two sophomores to play older than most sophomores do,” Brown said.

Kraft said he’s been impressed with how Olden and Crider have progressed since last year and he’s looking forward to seeing what Altenberger can do this season with a healthy knee.

“Ryan gives us great leadership. We look up to him because he’s our best player. He’s a great ball-hander and scorer,” said Kraft, a pitcher and middle infielder on the Morton baseball team.

Brown said his team’s success this season ultimately will depend upon the usual factors.

“As always, we have to defend well, rebound and take care of the ball,” he said. “We have to do those things against the difficult teams on our schedule.”

Among the Potters’ graduation losses was Dan Bolt, now a freshman baseball player at Bradley University.