How Thomas spent his summer vacation
Touring the nation with his AAU team
Hamilton Christian junior point guard Michael Thomas has spent the summer touring the country on the Amateur Athletic Union circuit, playing with the Louisiana Supreme program at events in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York.
Rather than sightseeing, skill sharpening has been the focus for Thomas, who has helped the Warriors to back-to-back state tournament appearances.
“It was a great experience getting to play against people from all over the nation,” Thomas said. “I’ve been working on my jumper, putting up a lot of shots, working on getting stronger and decision-making, getting my IQ higher and practicing game-like situations.”
Thomas said the work has helped him round out his game, with additional scoring ability pairing with his slick passing game. Last season he averaged 17 points and 8.0 assists per game.
“My pull-up jumper has become way better and I’m still creating for others,” he said.
Thomas enjoys running the show for the Warriors, who will return four starters, including two other all-district selections in Adrian Brown and Zion Stewart.
“My favorite part of the game is being able to be a floor general and control the game,” he said.
General Thomas prefers to keep the Warriors in attack mode, citing the transition game as the team’s biggest strength.
“If we run the break like we are supposed to we are a hard team to beat,” he said.
The Warriors play a stacked schedule every year, including hosting the annual Showdown in the Lake tournament. At last year’s event, the Warriors lost one-possession games to Division I champion Scotlandville and Class 4A Bossier.
Thomas said he loves getting a chance to compete against the state’s top programs.
“The atmosphere and the intensity makes the game more fun and everyone plays harder,” he said.
Thomas has picked up offers from McNeese, New Orleans, and Louisiana-Lafayette and has received a visit from Arkansas assistant Scotty Thurman, the former Arkansas star from Ruston.
Warriors head coach Dexter Washington said college coaches chasing Thomas have found a worthy target.
“His level of humility, unselfishness and his ability to distribute the ball makes him special,” Washington said. “His defense has improved tremendously over the summer. That’s one of the things all the coaches and analysts were excited about.”
Thomas said finishing the deal at the state tournament after a pair of semifinal losses is his focus heading into the new school year.
“State championship,” he said. “That’s the only thing on my mind.”
‘It was a great experience getting to play against people from all over the nation.’
Hamilton Christian Academy
Hamilton Christian’s Michael Thomas (23) draws the foul against St. Mary’s Bailey Shelton (0) during the Marsh Madness LHSAA Division IV Semi-final matchup at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles, Louisiana on Monday, March 5, 2018. (Dennis Babineax/Special to the American Press)