First United Bank Boys Athlete of the Week: KJ Thomas, Randall

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K.J. Thomas, Randall basketball, sophomore

On the court: In helping to keep the Raiders alive in the postseason, no one has been more poised than one of their youngest players, as Thomas has continued to carry the load like in the regular season. After Randall defeated Plainview in a play-in game for the fourth and final playoff seed from District 3-5A, the Raiders survived two close, tense playoff games last week to make the region quarterfinals, and Thomas was the biggest reason why. In the bidistrict round, Randall upset District 4-5A champ Abilene Cooper 46-45, as Thomas carried the Raiders offensively with 21 points. Three days later, Thomas came up just as big in the area round against El Paso Andress, as he scored 22 points to lead the Raider in another close, low scoring game, 44-41. Thomas, who leads Randall with 21.4 points a game, set a school single season scoring record in that game, as he now has 770 points on the season, shattering the mark of 751 set by Keenan Hooker in 2000-01.

Coach Leslie Broadhurst: “We knew when K.J. was in junior high that he was going to be a special player. There’s no one out there that works any harder than him and it’s always been that way. I think that’s why his teammates respect him so much because they know the hours that he puts in. Can I tell you that I knew as a sophomore he’d score as much and break the record? I believed he could but I wasn’t guaranteeing that or anything. It doesn’t surprise me at all because of the way he works. I think all of us really want the ball in his hands at the end of the game. I think he’s the guy that likes the pressure and he can make big shots when you need him to.”

Thomas: “This performance was to help the team win. We know it’s a win or go home thing now and we’ve really been preparing all season for this and we came out and performed and got a big W. I think it’s awesome that all of my teammates trust me because I’ve been doing it all season. I felt like (expectations) were going to be high because losing two really good guards from last year meant I would play a lot and I think I’ve stepped up and adapted to it well with the speed of the game and really got better. It’s about getting ready to play the best I can. It gives us a lot of confidence getting on a streak because when you win it just goes up and up.”

About Thomas

Favorite band or musician: NBA Young Boy

Favorite social media platform: InstagramFavorite athlete: Ja Morant

Bet you didn’t know: Played football until his freshman year at Randall.

Parents: Kalem and Carleigh Thomas

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