Matt St. Amour was anointed the Burlington Free Press’ “Mr. Basketball” in March after squeezing, over the course of a long winter, every ounce of his energy into a stellar season for Missisquoi Valley Union High School.
Perhaps a little rest was in order? Not a chance.
Before the sweat on his basketball uniform had time to dry, the MVU junior was standing on a mound, delivering pitches in preparation for baseball season.
“Pitchers and catchers reported the next week,” St. Amour said. “I’ve always kept busy.”
While St. Amour is the best varsity basketball player in the state, he’s anything but a one-trick pony. He was the leading scorer for MVU’s soccer team; he pitched the Thunderbirds’ baseball team to the Division II championship game at Centennial Field; and he also ran on the school’s cross country team.
As a result, the well-rounded St. Amour has been named the Burlington Free Press’ boys athlete of the year.
“You can tell he likes the having a lot of responsibility for a team’s success,” MVU baseball coach Roy Sargent said. “He wants to be on the mound, he wants to be at bat with game on the line, he wants the ball hit to him. He’s that type of player.”
The 6-foot-3 St. Amour averaged 26.6 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.7 steals a game during the basketball season despite being swarmed by multiple defenders on a nightly basis.
“He was a captain for us since Day 1 of his freshman season,” said MVU basketball coach Jim Bose. “With his skills and leadership, I don’t know if I’ll ever see another player like him again.”
On the soccer pitch, St. Amour knocked in 15 goals last season and is on pace to be the Thunderbirds’ career scoring leader, according to coach Jim Hubbard.
“He gets less press in soccer, but he’s certainly as dominating,” Hubbard said. “He has a lot of talent, but his strongest asset he is so mature and calm with whatever he does; he’s years ahead of most kids as far as his maturity and his mental approach.”
During the baseball season, St. Amour went 7-4 on the mound, tossing 70 strikeouts in 70 innings with a 1.92 ERA. He hurled three complete games in the playoffs, leading the Thunderbirds to the Division II title game, which they lost to Vergennes. Also a shortstop, St. Amour had a .361 batting average, drove in 10 runs and stole nine bases in 10 attempts.
“I just love to get out there and compete,” Amour said. “No matter what it is, I hate to lose. To see someone beat me or beat my school makes me mad, makes me want to work harder.
“I think playing other sports helps me with the other sports,” St. Amour added. “Some of the soccer skills, like footwork, can help me in basketball. The hand-eye coordination is good for all three. And the different training keeps my body fresh; it doesn’t get worn down using the same muscles all year.”
St. Amour said he’ll concentrate solely on basketball this summer — his schedule is loaded with Lone Wolf AAU games, camps and exhibitions — with the hope of landing a scholarship to continue his career at the college level. He said University of Vermont, St. Michael’s, Middlebury, Stonehill, Lafayette, Siena, Tufts and Columbia are amongst the schools on his list.
When he’s not on the pitch, the court or the diamond, St. Amour said he enjoys playing golf. In his first few rounds of this year, he’s already carded a 77 and a pair of 79s at Champlain Country Club.
“He excels in just about everything he does,” Bose said. “The good part is we still have him for another year, and I only expect him to get better.”