Defending Class A state champion Clarkston will definitely be the preseason No. 1 ranked team in boys basketball with Michigan State-bound 6-foot-8 Thomas Kithier transferring in from Macomb Dakota.
Kithier averaged 21 points and 12 rebounds last season to help Dakota earn the MAC Red tournament before a regional semifinal loss to Clarkston.
Kithier will join Clarkston senior guard Foster Loyer, also an MSU commit, who averaged 25.1 points and 6.4 assists to help the Dakota (27-1) win the state championship while earning a spot on The News Dream Team.
Kithier was third-team Class A all-state last season by The News.
It will be the third high-quality player in as many years to transfer into Clarkston with Dylan Alderson moving into Clarkston from Davison for the 2015-16 school year and 6-9 Taylor Currie moving in from Ohio last year.
Alderson was a Class A first-team all-stater last year after averaging 23.9 points and 5.5 rebounds. Currie, who committed to Michigan in June, had 16 points and 10 rebounds in the state championship game.
“We’ve been hearing since last fall, you know, things online that he was considering going to either a prep school, U of D (Jesuit) or Clarkston,” said Clarkston coach Dan Fife of Kithier. “He has moved to Clarkston. He’s enrolled at Clarkston after visiting a bunch of prep schools.
“I know what people are going to think and say, but I don’t get involved in these things. This stuff is getting crazy. I’ve seen such big changes in my 35 years (as coach and athletic director) and it’s scary what’s happening. Us, as coaches, we used to go to JV games to see what was going to happen for the following season, but there’s no need to do that anymore because it seems like everybody’s moving or transferring.
“Clarkston is a heck of a town, has good athletics and academics and people want to come. I recently got an email from a 6-foot-11 kid from Russia who was interested in our program after reading about it online. I’ve gotten so many things in past years.”
Fife said Kithier is one of 25 new students moving to Clarkston this year.
And, while Kithier is attending Clarkston for his senior year, it will also be Currie’s senior year.
How could Currie be a senior? After all, last year was his sophomore season.
“Currie was a sophomore last year, but he re-classified and will now be a senior so he can finish early, take a bunch of classes so he can attend Michigan a year early,” Fife said. “His father told me and I don’t agree with it.
“I was 17, young, when I went to Michigan and I was athletically OK, emotionally things bothered me. Coming from Clarkston to Michigan back then I felt like a fish out of water. Foster could have graduated too, just took a few extra classes his junior year, but didn’t.”