Michigan’s Clarkston High School already produced one highly-touted freshman prospect in Michigan State freshman sharpshooter, Foster Loyer. Another prospect tried to finish his career playing alongside Loyer but was unable due to academic violations.
Freshman forward Thomas Kithier fell victim to the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) putting its foot down on Michigan high school student-athletes transferring schools.
After his junior season at Dakota High School in Macomb, Mich. Kithier transferred to Clarkston. The MHSAA said his transfer had athletic intent, instead of an academic one. While Kithier denies these claims, he lost out on his senior season eligibility and his prep school career was cut one year short.
Thankfully for Kithier, Michigan State’s head coach, Tom Izzo, did not give up on him or his talent and he is still one of the seven incoming freshman for the 2018-19 season.
Outside of all of the drama, Kithier is still a three-star, 6-foot-8, 225-pound power forward who finished his junior season averaging a 21-point, 12-rebound double-double, along with five assists and three blocks per game.
Even if Kithier was not available to play for Clarkston, he still competed against players from a program that won back-to-back state championships. Whenever Kithier gets playing time, he will give the Spartans an interesting dynamic as a stretch-four who can knock down the three on one end, as well as contest shots and rebound on the other.
To be effective on the defensive end, he might have to quicken his feet slightly. Something so simple should not be a problem for a player like Kithier, who looks to a have a skill set as versatile as any of the incoming Michigan State freshman.
Sparty fans should look at Kithier in the same light as a freshman Matt Costello, who is more of an offensive threat. What truly separates Kithier from Costello is his ability to stretch the floor, as well as Kithier’s potential as a passer in the half court.
Fans might not see much of Thomas Kithier until his sophomore season. He has players such as Kenny Goins, Xavier Tillman and Nick Ward in front of him in the rotation, but do not jump off Kithier bandwagon; his potential is as high as any of the other freshman.