Treat Huey teased coaches during his freshman year at St. Stephen's/St. Agnes by giving the school glimpses of his athletic talent in football, basketball, baseball and tennis.
However, during his sophomore year he decided to focus solely on one sport: tennis.
For Huey, The Post's Player of the Year last season, the decision proved beneficial. Other coaches at his school were disappointed, but they understood once they witnessed the 5-foot-9, 170-pound left-hander smack a tennis ball. Now a junior, he served-and-volleyed his way to an undefeated campaign last season in the Interstate Athletic Conference, arguably the area's toughest league for tennis.
"He may be the best athlete at our school," Saints baseball coach Jerry Howell said.
Howell, who has coached at the school for 20 years, instructed Huey in basketball, baseball and football when he was a middle school student, and recognized a mastery of basic skills and "athletic intelligence" that separated Huey from the other athletes.
The four-sport talent excelled as a wide receiver and outside linebacker on the freshman football team, and showed admirable skills as a pitcher and outfielder as a member of the junior varsity baseball team. Some at the school believe Huey could have been the starting point guard on the varsity basketball team this past season.
"I talk to him every year to see if he wants to play football for us," Athletic Director Gary Schnell said. "He kind of grins and says 'no thanks.' . . . We were hoping he'd be a three-sport athlete."
But the tennis court is where Huey is content. He demonstrated that at the season-ending Ben Johns Invitational, where he took every match in straight sets until he reached the final, along the way upending two-time All-Met, and four-time all-IAC player of the year, Alex Hume of Episcopal. As a freshman, Huey completed the season 15-2 at the No. 1 singles spot.
Huey is ranked third by the Mid-Atlantic Tennis Association in the 18-and-under division and 48th in the nation. In February, he captured the USTA National Open in Honolulu, securing his first national title.
Huey said other sports, particularly basketball and baseball, helped him develop agility, footwork and hand-eye coordination.
"I'm probably a lot smoother on the court because I played all the other sports growing up," he said.
"Definitely the quickness in the game. The ability to run down shots, volley better because I worked at all the other sports."
St. Stephen's/SA tennis coach John Butler said Huey's endurance and mobility discourage most opponents from attempting to outlast him. Add a 100 mph serve and a deft touch around the net and the picture of Huey is complete.
"He's so smooth. Everything he does has fluidity to it. It's just like a constant attack," Landon Coach Adam Atwell said.
"Eventually that style wears you down. It gives the opponent a small margin of error. That puts the pressure on them to come up with a passing shot every time. It causes frustration."
Despite his choice to play one sport, Butler said Huey has been helpful to teammates, who gain experience by rallying with someone who hits with tremendous velocity and accuracy. Huey has a private coach but practices with the team on Fridays.
Some advanced tennis players shun their high school teams in order to practice against stiffer competition. Butler appreciates Huey's decision to help the Saints, who finished 0-5 in IAC competition.
"He's not just some amazing tennis player who comes to play matches," Butler said. "He's committed himself to the high school.
"He's not just using this as a stage to show off and make himself look good for his peers."