The young high school basketball player stood in the line of fire. His coach was on a rant, and he was the target. "Out of the twelve guys we have on our team right now, you would be the thirteenth! You're terrible!"
Beau Levesque could have folded under pressure. But the skinny sophomore took the criticism for what it was meant to be – a motivational message and a challenge. It paid off, and today Beau Levesque is an integral part of the Gaels basketball team that won both the West Coast Conference championship and tournament this year, and he is looking forward to every young basketball player’s dream – the NCAA Tournament.
Levesque began his athletic and academic career at Christ the King School in Concord before attending De La Salle High School. At De La Salle, he racked up plenty of accolades including selection on numerous all-tournament and league teams. Amid all this success on the basketball court, he also managed to excel in the classroom, achieving “high honors” in all eight semesters at De La Salle. In his final five semesters, his grade point average (GPA) was above 4.0.
“Growing up, my parents always made it a point to focus on academics before anything else because my dad always told me that sports can be great, but they can always be taken away.”
Levesque, who is from Lafayette, Calif., wasn’t the only one in his family to hit the books hard. He says he was also challenged by his older sister, Kristina, who swam for the University of San Diego.
“Tina set the bar really high for me as a psychology major, biology minor,” he says. She earned WAC All-Academic team honors in her sophomore through senior years and made the President's List for scholar-athletes each year.
At the end of Levesque’s high school career, he chose to attend Saint Mary’s College. “I actually came to Saint Mary's on an academic scholarship and a preferred walk-on for the basketball team and worked my way to a full scholarship for basketball, which was something I had been working for my whole life,” he says.
He scored a career-high 10 points in the league title-clinching win at Portland and has played in all 30 games and started five this season.
Levesque is held in high regard by many of his teammates. “It’s a pleasure to play with such a player of high character. He brings a lot of toughness and intensity to our team even as a younger player. I believe he has a bright future as a Gael.” Stephen Holt adds: “Beau is an amazing teammate on and off the court. Working hard and being a good teammate comes natural to him. It’s all about winning at the end of the day for Beau, and he will do everything to help the team reach that goal. That’s what makes him a great person in general. He cares for everyone in our locker room.”
Off the court, Levesque is just as impressive. He is also co-president of the SMC Student-Athlete Advisory Council. Since arriving at Saint Mary’s, he’s been on the Dean’s List both years and was recently selected to the WCC All-Academic team with a 3.78 GPA. The award is handed out to the top eight players in the conference who combine athletic and academic achievement.
“That award means more to me than any individual award I've ever won because it has been something that I've been working towards since freshman year and it combines both academic and athletic success, which are two things that I have dedicated the vast majority of my life and free time to,” he says.
Saint Mary’s is no stranger to the Levesque family. Beau’s uncle, Don Devincenzi, was a standout performer on the men’s basketball team in the 1960s, and his cousin Alyssa is a senior on the women’s basketball team.
But Levesque’s biggest inspiration is his cousin Alex, who is handicapped. He explains that Alex, a senior at De La Salle who is also hoping to attend Saint Mary’s, “has handled his situation with so much maturity and toughness that whenever I think about quitting or giving up, I think about how Alex would give anything to be able to run up and down a court or work out the way we do even if it was for a day. He is constantly my motivation to never accept mediocrity, because I know he wouldn't if he was in my shoes.”
By Kyle Rowley ’12 - SMC Sports Journalism Class, Department of Communication