Michigan State basketball: Forward Thomas Kithier entering transfer portal

Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press
·2 min read

Thomas Kithier became the third Michigan State basketball player to enter the NCAA transfer portal since the season ended.

Kithier's name appeared Tuesday morning. The junior from Clarkston joins Jack Hoiberg (headed to Texas-Arlington) and Rocket Watts (undecided) as players to enter the portal since the Spartans' lost to UCLA in the NCAA tournament to finish 15-13.

Kithier has two years to play with the COVID-19 waiver, and he remains a viable Big Ten bench option in a limited capacity.

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The 6-foot-8, 230-pound forward, averaged 2.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 10.8 minutes a game this season, starting 14 times. He shot 65% from the field and was a plus-18 defensively.

However, Kithier's minutes dwindled down the stretch as his strong positional defense was not enough against the bigger, more physical post players in the Big Ten. He often found himself in foul trouble (2.4 per game) while struggling to rebound and score consistently.

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Outside of his 11 minutes against Maryland in the Big Ten tournament, he played 6 minutes or fewer in each of the final eight games, including DNPs in the win over Michigan and the NCAA loss to UCLA.

Kithier's impending departure leaves MSU with one scholarship spot to fill, assuming neither he, Watts or Aaron Henry return. Henry announced Monday he will enter the NBA draft and sign with an agent, but players can do so and still return to school, after a 2019 NCAA rules change, if they withdraw their name from the draft.

MSU coach Tom Izzo has signed three guards for this fall in Jaden Akins, Pierre Brooks III and Max Christie and landed Northeastern transfer point guard Tyson Walker. The Spartans could pursue another transfer from the portal or wait to see if Emoni Bates opts to reclassify into the 2021 class to fill the open scholarship.

Contact Chris Solari: csolari@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari. Read more on the Michigan State Spartans and sign up for our Spartans newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan State basketball: Thomas Kithier entering transfer portal