Maryland's hoops team added senior wing Micah Thomas (Huntington Prep/Huntington, W.Va.), a Memphis, Tenn., native, March 15, and afterwards we spoke to his head coach, Arkell Bruce, to gain more insight into the 6-foot-7, 180-pound three-star. Bruce breaks down Thomas' game, his development, what he needs to work on, why he chose the Terps over Louisville and more.
Hear what else Bruce had to say in the audio interview above. The transcript of Bruce's quotes are below:
On What Thomas Brings To Maryland
He’s a high-level shooter, a very high-level athlete. He’s 6-7 with a 7-1 wingspan. He’s tougher then what people know. He can take a punch and he can deliver a punch.
He’s extremely long. He has a 7-1 wingspan. Extremely long arms. Extremely bouncy, bouncy. He’s definitely going to be able to defend, and that’s how he’ll get on the floor right away – his defense and shooting.
On His On-Court Demeanor/Toughness
I wouldn’t say he’s a leader as far as toughness, but if he’s being challenged or pushed into a corner, he’ll come out swinging. And he definitely has the ability to lock down the [opponent’s] best perimeter player. The way he moves, he’s so fluid, he can run, he can jump – he’s an all-across-the-board athlete.
On What Thomas Needs To Improve
He has to tighten up his handles and dribble with a purpose. And shot selection is always [something he can work on]. No question he takes a few [suspect shots] (laughs).
On Greatest Development Since Arriving At Huntington
Competing all the time. He’s getting better in that aspect, because we have a player who will hit him in the mouth if he doesn’t compete. Not literally (laughs). But if he doesn’t step up and compete, Micah is going to get walked over.
On Thomas’ Character and Who He Compares To
Micah’s his own character. Once you see him and get to know him, you’ll realize he’s laid back and real chill. That’s just Micah. It’s the way he is. A very goofy kid, fun-loving and loves to laugh. And he’s a very high-character kid, which is always a plus.
On Committing to Maryland Without Visiting?
Maryland did a great job communicating their plan with him. It was a consistent effort across the board with Dustin Clark and Coach [Mark] Turgeon. They recruited him from our first scrimmage and they went at it hard and heavy. I can’t really say there was anyone else who recruited him consistently throughout the year.
It’s that time of year where other colleges go hard after the guys they want, and he was getting bombarded by a lot of coaches. So he decided to shut it down.
On The Deal With Louisville? Reservations With Cardinals?
It would be silly for me to say that didn’t play a role [the recent allegations against the Louisville program] … That played a major part… The Outside the Lines report … all that played a part. Louisville did a great job recruiting him and showing him they really wanted him, but at the end of the day Maryland was there; it’s a basketball school; and it’s where Micah wanted to be.
On Fitting In At Maryland
He didn’t really talk about watching any games of Maryland’s. I know I would text him and say, ‘Hey, watch how Maryland is playing, watch how Louisville is playing and see how you fit.’ I’m sure he did watch, and I know Maryland needs to add depth to their program, and I know Micah is going to fit right in.
On Maryland’s Relationship With Thomas’ Mother
She played a role, but ultimately she let him make the decision. He’s a young man, and the decisions he makes, he has to learn and live with. They’re both big on relationship and feeling comfortable, and that’s how Coach Turgeon made them feel.
Thought on Mark Turgeon and Dustin Clark
High-character guys. Great coaches. You know as well as I do you’re only as good as the players you get. But that’s a part of it. They get high-character guys and coach them up. They develop their players, and they were very, very consistent in recruiting Micah and what they see from him and want out of him and relaying that message to myself.
And they’re both good dudes who you can sit down with, have a drink with and get to know. They’re just good people.
Thomas Potential At Maryland?
I think really the sky is the limit with Micah. Once he shows consistent effort and more passion and love of the game, I think that … I’m not going to use the term “pro,” because only time will tell. But I think he’ll have a great career at Maryland. He’s a hell of a shooter and a hell of an athlete. Once he puts it all together consistently, I think he’ll be fine.