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Changing sides
Former Charleston forward transfers to GSU
Wiedeman file 01 web
Charleston forward Trent Wiedeman, top, blocks a shot by Georgia Southern guard Ben Drayton during a game at Hanner Fieldhouse in this January 26, 2011, file photo. Wiedeman has transferred to Georgia Southern to play for Mark Byington, GSU's first-year head coach and former interim coach at Charleston. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    Trent Wiedeman is reuniting with his former coach.
    Wiedeman, a 6-foot-8 forward who played three seasons at College of Charleston, requested to transfer after the 2012-13 season and has committed to play at Georgia Southern, where he will play for Mark Byington, GSU's first-year head coach.
    "I definitely think Georgia Southern made a really good move in hiring him," Wiedeman said about Byington during a phone interview on Tuesday. "I think the world of him."
    Byington took over as the interim head coach of Charleston in 2012 after then-coach Bobby Cremins resigned during the 2011-12 season. The season saw Wiedeman, then a sophomore, average 12.1 points and a team-high 8.7 rebounds as a starter.
    Byington was the head coach for the final 11 games of the 2011-12 season, but left Charleston and was hired as an assistant at Virginia Tech last year, before being announced as GSU's head coach on Monday, April 1.
    Wiedeman missed nine games while battling ankle injuries during the 2012-13 season at Charleston, and started only four times while averaging 8.4 points and 5.5 rebounds for the Cougars last year under first-year head coach Doug Wojcik.
    Wiedeman, who said he has recovered fully from last season's injuries, will have to sit out the 2013-14 season at Georgia Southern due to NCAA transfer rules.
    It will be GSU's last season in the Southern Conference.
    The decision to transfer and sit out a year was a difficult one for Weideman.
    "It was," he said, "but it's a good time to work on parts of my game that aren't where I want them to be, and catch up on academics."
    The GSU program will play its first season as a member of the Sun Belt Conference when Weideman returns to the court in 2014.
    "It didn't have much to do with my decision," Wiedeman said, "but I do know a little bit about the Sun Belt. They got an at-large bid this year, along with the automatic bid. It's a good conference, and it's an upgrade from the SoCon. I'm looking forward to playing against better competition."   
    On his visit to GSU, Weideman met with Eric Ferguson, a rising senior who will reportedly undergo knee surgery during the offseason.
    "I talked to Eric Ferguson on my visit," Weideman said, "and I'm definitely looking forward to being on the same team as him."
    The Eagles (14-19 last season) have never won the SoCon title, and haven't been to the NCAA Tournament since 1993. Weideman likes where the program is heading.
    "I think the program's on the rise, especially with coach B coming in," he said. "I just think the program's just going to continue to get better."

    Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 541-3511.