Grant County's Thompson surprises himself during banner season, earns Mr. Basketball Award

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By Paul Gable

When he had doubts about whether or not he could adapt as a starting player this season, Grant County High School junior Kody Thompson thought back to his childhood and the guidance he got from his parents.

"When I was old enough to pick up a basketball, I began playing. A lot of that has to do with my parents, who got me interested and pushed me to be the player I am today. It was a scary experience when I started, but I have learned to love it. I love playing basketball with my teammates. It has been a combined effort between me and my parents," said Thompson.

After seeing limited time as a sophomore, Thompson flourished as a junior this season, leading the Braves to several crucial victories as the season progressed.

"I have been fortunate so far in that I was able to get a lot of minutes as a sophomore and that helped going into this year. This year was a solid season in terms of minutes and gaining varsity experience. I am surprised with how I did this season," Thompson said.

While Thompson may have been surprised, his coach, Ron Kinmon, had a feeling early on that Thompson was a special player.

"Kody is a great player and will do anything that you ask of him. However, I don't think he realized until February that he had the potential to be the best any night we played," Kinmon said.

During his career as the boys' basketball coach, Kinmon has been slow to promote younger players from the junior varsity to varsity team, but that changed with Thompson.

"I made the decision last year to put him in the starting line-up because he was special," Kinmon said.

Despite leading the Braves to victories over Williamstown, Henry County, Gallatin County, Newport and Carroll County late in the season, Thompson admits that he was "surprised" with the success he has had.

"I have always thought of myself as a role player, and this season and the opportunities I had have showed me that I am a leader on this team and that the other guys need me to step up. I am surprised to be a lead player and be in the starting five with some of the other players we have on this team, who are very good players," Thompson said.

While he sat on the bench, watching the final seconds roll off the clock and consoling teammates during the Braves' season-ending 74-63 loss to Simon Kenton in the first round of the 32nd District Tournament, Thompson said he knew he was now a senior player. That realization is one that excites him and his coach.

"I am already anxious, and I wish the season started tomorrow. I think we will be a solid team, and I think we'll make a run at the district title. It is a great opportunity for us," Thompson said.

Kinmon said Thompson has the ability to end his senior career on a positive note.

"He has the potential to be the top player in the district, one of the top players in the region and to earn a college scholarship, but it is up to him," Kinmon said.