Thomas Kithier is off to the transfer portal.
With his departure, Kithier is the third Spartan to take that plunge this offseason, joining Jack Hoiberg and Rocket Watts. With Aaron Henry and Josh Langford also announcing departures, Michigan State now stands at 12 out of 13 scholarships filled for next season.
Michigan State forward Thomas Kithier has entered the transfer portal, source told ESPN. Started 14 games this past season for the Spartans. Averaged 2.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 10.8 minutes.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 13, 2021
The 6-foot-8 big man will be looking elsewhere to finish out his college career after a junior season where he averaged 2.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. While he did start 14 of MSU’s 26 games this past season, he averaged just 10.8 minutes in a clogged big man rotation.
Despite getting the main haul of the big man minutes in the first half of the season, Kithier’s minutes started to dwindle in the final weeks of the season. He logged just one double-digit minute game in the Spartans’ last eight contests and didn’t play at all in the regular season finale against Michigan and the season’s finale against UCLA.
Simply put, the writing may have been on the wall that next year’s rotation might already be settled heading into the offseason. With Julius Marble, Marcus Bingham Jr. and Mady Sissoko all returning next year, MSU still has a solid stable of centers to rely on — and now has an extra scholarship spot to fill.
Update: Kithier has since confirmed the news himself, and notes that he will be a graduate transfer after completing his undergraduate degree at Michigan State in just three years— very impressive.
Second Update: Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo on Thomas Kithier’s decision to enter the transfer portal:
“We met with Thomas and his parents a couple of times after the season was done and we both thought that pursuing other options would be mutually beneficial for us and for him,” Izzo said. “Thomas has been a selfless player who has always been willing to do whatever we asked of him, whether it was starting at times in the last two years or coming off the bench. He’s one of the brightest kids we’ve had, both on the court and in the classroom. He will earn his bachelor’s degree in three years and wants to explore options that he feels will be better for him from a basketball standpoint and for graduate school. I have a great deal of respect for him and his family and will help him in any way that I can as he explores his options.”