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Micah Thomas rises to the challenge for Putnam North

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Putnam North's Micah Thomas is The Oklahoman's Big All-City Boys Basketball Player of the Year. He helped lead the Panthers to the Class 6A state championship game a second consecutive season.  [Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman]
Putnam North's Micah Thomas is The Oklahoman's Big All-City Boys Basketball Player of the Year. He helped lead the Panthers to the Class 6A state championship game a second consecutive season. [Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman]

There’s no more hiding for Micah Thomas.

Before the boys basketball season, Thomas was excited at the prospect of leading Putnam North, the defending Class 6A champion, and hoped to establish himself as one of the top players in the state.

But even he was a bit surprised when he sat down with coach Ryan Wagner before the season to go over that year’s goals and expectations.

Wagner told him it was his team now, and he wanted Thomas to average around 30 points per game, almost double his career average at that point.

“That sounds awesome in theory, but very few kids can do that,” Wagoner said. “But Micah, he always exceeds or meets expectations.”

Putnam North started off rocky, going 6-6 through its first dozen games and dropping matchups to rivals Putnam West and Putnam City. Putnam North was even blown out by nearly 30 points by Class 4A power Heritage Hall.

“It was a difficult road,” Thomas said. “My personality, I’m not really loud. But I knew I needed to step up and be heard.”

Thomas let his game do the screaming, averaging 30 points per game as well as nearly five assists and 1.5 steals a night.

But Thomas, a 6-foot point guard, played even louder down the stretch of the season. He practically willed the Panthers back to the Class 6A championship game, scoring 107 points over the course of the state tournament. Against Edmond Memorial in the semifinals, Thomas scored 44 points, making 13-of-19 shots from the floor and going 6-of-9 from 3-point range.

Thomas is The Oklahoman’s Big All-City Player of the Year.

“I always knew it was in me,” Thomas said of his massive scoring outbursts. “But I think this year I had to take on a different role and that exploded more.”

Though Putnam North lost to Tulsa Washington in the title game, Thomas came away the talk of the tournament.

In years past, Thomas had been charged with running the offense, Wagoner said.

But this year, Thomas was the star.

“If you underestimate him, he’s gonna kill you,” Wagoner said. “He sacrificed for his team last year because that’s who he is and he’s very humble.

“He just goes and does his job and he wins.”

Thomas, who had originally signed with the University of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville before being granted a release, was happy to get the chance to repay his coach's faith in him.

“I stepped up to the challenge,” Thomas said. “To play this game, I feel like it's just a blessing. So I just took my talents and did what I could do.”

Adam Kemp

Adam Kemp is the Higher Education reporter for The Oklahoman and Newsok.com. Kemp grew up in Oklahoma City before attending Oklahoma State University. Kemp has interned for the Oklahoman, the Oklahoma Gazette and covered Oklahoma State Football... Read more ›

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