Super 5 boys basketball: Tough love brought the best out of Putnam North's Micah Thomas
Micah Thomas heard the call come from the bench a few times each game.
When it felt like a game was slipping away or things just weren’t going Putnam North’s way, Thomas would hear his dad’s voice call out to him with a reminder.
“Get ‘em together,” Mike Thomas, the Panther’s assistant coach, would say. “Lead them.”
A season of ups and downs for Putnam North featured one constant for Putnam North, Micah Thomas’ stellar play and a dad urging his son to be the leader he knew he could be.
Thomas would prove to be equal to the challenge, willing Putnam North back to the Class 6A title game while leading a roster filled with talented buy young players.
Thomas is The Oklahoman’s Super 5 Player of the Year, as he averaged more than 30 points per game for Putnam North.
“I had to stay on them,” Thomas said. “I had to lead them more and sometimes had to get on to guys too.
"It was a challenge for me.”
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But Thomas said he had a good leader to show him how.
Mike Thomas has coached his son since he was 5 years old, showing the then-toddler the basics of ball handling and proper shot mechanics while also coaching his son in tee-ball and in football.
“He seemed to always have a knack for making big plays,” Mike Thomas said. “I just knew he was going to be successful in whatever he tried.”
Mike Thomas was going to make sure of it.
As Micah got older and settled on basketball as his sport of choice, Mike Thomas said he and his son drilled for hours in the gym together. Perfecting his shot, making sure he learned how to recognize double teams and drilling for all manner of late-game situations.
Of course, trying to make a diamond requires pressure.
Micah Thomas said he and his dad often butted heads.
“Can I make him happy?” Micah Thomas would often ask himself. “Sometimes it feels like he was always on me.
“It was tough at times but I look back on it and I know it's what I needed.”
Those moments came this senior season. Leading a starting lineup that featured three sophomores, Putnam North struggled out of the gate and making the Class 6A playoffs with a 14-13 record.
But Micah Thomas played his best on the biggest stages, scoring 34 points to beat Midwest City and 44 points in a win against No. 1 Edmond Memorial in the semifinals. Though Putnam North would fall to Tulsa's Booker T. Washington in the finals, Thomas did all he could to make it close, scoring 29 points while facing double and triple teams.
Head coach Ryan Wagner said Thomas was often his best in tight situations.
“When a situation is at its toughest he’s at his calmest,” Wagner said. “He knows that he’s already put the work in with his dad to be ready.”
Mike Thomas said seeing his son play his best in the biggest moments let him know his tough love worked.
“He usually caught the brunt of everything from me,” Mike Thomas acknowledges. “But look at that smile that’s on his face now. The benefits were great.”
“I give so much thanks to him,” he said. “I am who I am today because of him.
“I'm so thankful for him.”
Read profiles of each Super 5 first-team player at newsok.com/sports.