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Thomas Kithier ruled ineligible
The next time you see Thomas Kithier play in a competitive basketball game, it might be for Michigan State.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association ruled Thursday that Kithier, a Spartans signee and 3-star prospect in the 247Sports composite ratings, is ineligible for the entirety of his senior season, per The Detroit News and other reports. The 6-foot-8 forward transferred in the summer from Macomb (Mich.) Dakota to Clarkston (Mich.) for his final year of school.
Dakota filed a complaint with the MHSAA and refused to sign his transfer form, leading to an investigation. The school claimed Kithier’s transfer was athletically motivated, which would be against MHSAA rules.
One month ago, Kithier signed with Michigan State alongside fellow Spartans commit and 4-star point guard Foster Loyer. The two played AAU basketball together during the summer and would have been teammates once again at Clarkston had Kithier been ruled eligible.
— Luke Srodulski (@lsrodulski) December 17, 2016
Clarkston enters the season coming off of a Class A state championship, the first won by coach Dan Fife in his illustrious career. Fife’s son, Dane, will be one of Kithier and Loyer’s assistant coaches at Michigan State.
Despite all the connections, Loyer and Fife both told Land of 10 in November that they had no part in Kithier’s move.
“It came as a surprise to all of us,” Loyer said. “I don’t know when it occurred, but when we started school, everyone heard rumors he was going to a couple prep schools. It was just the big word that he was leaving Dakota, and none of us really knew anything about it. He just kind of ended up coming to Clarkston.”
Asked how Kithier fell into his lap at Clarkston, Fife responded, “Just like Foster fell into my lap and [4-star forward Taylor] Currie fell into my lap. I don’t have any answer to that.”
Kithier could still transfer somewhere outside the jurisdiction of the MHSAA, but otherwise, he will have to sit on the sideline. After he averaged 21 points and 12 rebounds as a junior, this comes as disappointing news to fans of Michigan high school basketball. More importantly, it’s devastating for Kithier, who his parents said in a statement is “heartbroken.”
Basketball signees get ratings bumps
In happier basketball news, several Michigan State signees saw their 247Sports composite rankings get a boost in the latest updates. Aaron Henry, a Ben Davis (Indianapolis) senior wing, earned his fourth star.
Four-star forward Marcus Bingham Jr. now comes in at No. 67 nationally (up from No. 69). Loyer ranks 79th (up from 108). Four-star wing Gabe Brown moved from No. 117 to No. 92. Henry jumped forward from No. 167 to No. 114. And Kithier placed 140th (a bump of 36 spots).
Michigan State’s Class of 2018 ranks eighth in the nation and second in the Big Ten. All five commits signed during the early period in November.
In-home visits for football commits
Two weeks from now, we will be right in the middle of the early signing period.
Previously, the first opportunity to officially add recruits to your program would be the first Wednesday of February. But with the institution of the new Dec. 20-22 window, Michigan State and other programs couldn’t waste any time hitting the road for in-home visits.
Right when the contact period (which allows face-to-face visits with senior recruits away from campus) began on Nov. 26, the Michigan State coaching staff began to prioritize visits with verbal commits in an effort to ensure they become signees later this month.
On Wednesday, coach Mark Dantonio and co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner made their way to Georgia. If 3-star Lassiter (Marietta, Ga.) cornerback Chris Jackson and 3-star Woodland (Stockbridge, Ga.) offensive lineman James Ohonba sign, it will give the Spartans five Peach State signees in the last two classes.
Dantonio and Warner first checked in with Jackson, whose parents both attended Michigan State. The decision never seemed to be a difficult one for him. Having just started playing competitive football as a sophomore, Jackson has plenty to learn, but he has freakish athleticism that can’t be taught.
Good talk today with the boss…..crazy used to dream of this day ✅ pic.twitter.com/vhlzh4U7P7
— JAX II (@chris_jack24) December 6, 2017
Next the coaches visited with Ohonba, easily the biggest player in the class at 345 pounds. The 6-4 lineman recently lost his fourth star in the 247Sports composite ratings but remains a prized commit for the Spartans nonetheless.
— Dr. Sharon Ohonba (@DrO2010) December 7, 2017
Much of Michigan State’s 2018 class plans to be on campus this weekend in an official capacity, but Jackson and Ohonba will not. Both took their official visits in September.
Michigan State legacy recruit lands offer
Darius Snow is just a sophomore, but his highlight film shows traces of his uncle’s professional talent.
The 6-2 Hebron (Carrollton, Texas) safety is the son of former Michigan State basketball star Eric Snow and former Spartans All-American linebacker Percy Snow. And at 210 pounds already, he can really lay the wood.
Michigan State clearly saw something in him beyond his last name because the Spartans extended an offer on Wednesday. It is Snow’s first offer.
Snow lives just outside of Dallas, where his father previously worked with the SMU basketball program as its director of player development. His uncle was inducted into the Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010.
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