Oakland University suffered a serious blow for next season when junior point guard Kay Felder declared for the NBA draft and signed with an agent.
The Golden Grizzlies filled that roster spot today, getting a commitment from North Farmington combo guard Billy Thomas.
Thomas, a Free Press All-North guard as a senior last season, was weighing whether to go to prep school or start college in the fall, and felt Oakland was a good fit.
“It’s a long process, I took my time and I just felt like Oakland was the best spot for me,” said the 5-foot-11 Thomas, adding that Oakland was the most interested in him and assistant Saddi Washington was his primary recruiter.
As a combo guard for the Raiders last season after transferring from U-D Jesuit the year before — but being ineligible for the state tournament by rule — Thomas averaged 23 points per game, shot 39% from three-point range and averaged four assists, four steals and three rebounds per game. Though he missed four games early in the season with an ankle injury, he helped the Raiders reach the Class A state title game.
Ironically, North Farmington faced his former team, U-D Jesuit, in the final, losing 69-49.
Thomas said he’s a point guard/shooting guard, so he would not directly replace Felder’s spot, obviously not the production of the nation’s leading assist man and fourth-leading scorer. But he’d like to “follow his footsteps.”
He isn’t sure if he will redshirt — he asked Oakland coach Greg Kampe if he could, but Kampe told him they’d have to see in the fall.
Thomas intends to sign his letter-of-intent “as soon as possible” and will join the existing freshman class of Detroit Western point guard Brailen Neely and Chesterfield (Ind.) shooting guard Chris Palombizio.
The Oakland coaching staff cannot discuss Thomas until he signs the official letter.