Despite this year’s shortened high school basketball season, Oklahoma high schools produced some impressive boys basketball players. Future Division I players like Putnam City West’s Rondel Walker and Booker T. Washington’s Trey Phipps and Bryce Thompson shared a lot of the headlines.
It was another Thompson, however, who finished the season with the most career points: Carson Thompson from Class 2A Canadian High School.
Thompson averaged more than 25 points a game this season for the Cougars, who went 24-5 and advanced to within one game of the state tournament. The 5-10, left-handed guard finished his career with 2,431 points, good enough for 42nd on Oklahoma’s all-time boys high school scoring charts.
“I kind of left that to everyone else,” said Thompson, in regards to his scoring totals. “I heard everyone talking about it and all that stuff, but I didn’t really pay attention to it. I kind of just worried about the season.”
“He’s a pretty special player,” said coach Gary Hendrix, who led Canadian to its first league title since 2002. “He’s a talented young man with a great attitude. When we needed him to score, he would go score. He was also very unselfish. He made our other players better, also.”
“He could get to the basket probably better than anyone I’ve ever coached,” added Hendrix, who had previous stints at Fort Gibson and won a state championship at Mounds in 1985. “I’ve coached a lot of really good players over the years. He’s just a complete player.”
Thompson surpassed former Sooner State stars like Shon Alexander (Preston) and Xavier Henry (Putnam City), but he still came up more than a thousand points shy of legendary scorers like Rotnei Clarke (Verdigris), Keiton Page (Pawnee) and Kelenna Azubuike (Victory Christian).
“Man, that’s crazy,” said Thompson with a laugh. “They scored a lot of points in their career. That’s more than 40 points a game. They did something special. That’s crazy to think about.”
Opponents tried to shut Thompson down with double teams and gimmick defenses, but they couldn’t keep him from scoring. He credits teammates Lavonta Clayton, Chad Baker, Trett Lindell, Christian Mathis and Bobby Dobbs for a lot of his success.
“I knew it was coming,” admitted Thompson, who earned MVP honors in the Pitt 8 Conference. “There would be players who would come in and just grab me the whole game or try to foul me and make me upset. I wouldn’t say anything to them. I would just continue to score. I got used to stuff like that.”
“He doesn’t have a big ego,” explained Hendrix. “He gets a lot of attention but he tried to spread that around among his teammates. He’s just been a real pleasure to coach the two years that I’ve had him.”
While the career scoring charts are a virtual Who’s Who of Oklahoma high school basketball players, not many, if any, of the players on that list also set similar records on the football field.
Thompson set national records for career touchdowns (184) and touchdowns in a season (82) this year while leading the Cougars to a 12-1 season and a spot in the 8-man state quarterfinals.
And if that wasn’t enough, Thompson is also the Salutatorian of his 47-member senior class.
“That’s what my parents taught me ever since I was little,” stated Thompson. “Grades come first and sports come second. I pride myself on making straight As. That’s always been a goal for me.”
Some may scoff at Thompson’s numbers in both sports and attribute his success to playing at a small school. He wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“I don’t have any regrets,” admitted Thompson. “I made a lot of memories and had a lot of fun. I don’t think a big school or little school mattered. I’m just happy I went to Canadian.”