St. Mary’s Knights pitcher and point guard Jaxon Rideau is a standout two-sport athlete at the Catholic high school in Central Phoenix. The junior plays a big role on both teams for the Knights and balancing is a constant theme for him with his high school endeavors.
Balancing sports and academics is not difficult for Rideau and he holds himself to a high standard on the field, court and in the classroom. Athletics and academics are always the top priorities for him. His outstanding work ethic sets him apart from other athletes.
“I just do everything that my teachers ask me to do,” Rideau said.
One of the main traits that Rideau brings to baseball from basketball is leadership. As a point guard on the basketball team and a pitcher on the baseball team, communicating and being vocal is always crucial for Rideau. Assistant baseball coach and Rideau’s father, Aaron Rideau, believes that Rideau has a vision on the court and field that gives him a huge edge over so many other players at the high school level.
“I think the fact he plays other sports is a plus,” coach Rideau said. “I think all of our kids that play other sports is a plus.”
Aside from his leadership, Rideau’s coachability helps him improve and strive to be the best player he can be.
“Jaxon’s a really coachable kid,” assistant baseball coach Michael Nunez said. “He takes our feedback for what it is and he has an open mind about it so he’s willing to make the adjustments when needed and he turns them into results.”
The St. Mary’s baseball coaching staff, who has turned this program around and led them to a state semifinal appearance a year ago, is constantly working with Rideau to make him an elite player.
“He takes what [all of his] coaches say to heart,” assistant coach Aaron Rideau said. “He uses all of our knowledge to form his own way.”
Along with being coachable, work ethic is a big part of Rideau’s success. He added that he works hard in both sports, spending lots of time in the gym practicing his basketball fundamentals as well as in the batting cage and on the mound.
“I leave everything on the court or field every time I play,” Rideau said.
Rideau also mentioned how vital fitness is for him in his success for both sports and he is thankful for the conditioning program that all of his coaches set up for his teams.
“With his personal body development coming out of basketball, he was already in shape,” coach Nunez said. “So we didn’t have to do as much conditioning with him.”
However, the coaching staff had to get him in throwing shape. They started with drills such as long tossing and they worked with his off-speed and fastball pitches as well. With his training Rideau has seen success, including a start on Apr. 2 when he only allowed five hits and one run while striking out eight batters in 5 1/3 innings pitched that resulted in a St. Mary’s 8-1 win. As for many high school athletes, playing either sport in college is a goal for Rideau.
“I believe I can play in college for both sports,” Rideau said. “I just hope that I start seeing more schools interested so that I can start making some decisions.”