NBA

NBA Draft Prospect Cassius Winston Dealt With Tragedy His Senior Year And Finished His College Career As An NCAA Great

Unfortunately, the 2019-20 NCAA basketball season did not finish because of the coronavirus pandemic. That meant fans couldn’t watch Michigan State standout Cassius Winston finish his senior season. Winston had an impressive career playing on the Michigan State basketball team.

During his four-year career at Michigan State, Winston transformed into a leader and was well respected throughout the NCAA. In 2020 he suffered a tragic loss when his younger brother passed away, and he continued to play in honor of his brother.

Cassius Winston starred in high school before playing at Michigan State

RELATED: Cassius Winston Did a Touching Tribute to His Brother Before Every Game

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Winston attended the University of Detroit Jesuit High School. He made an impact immediately after joining the team during his freshman year. The talented point guard averaged 7.0 points, 7.5 assists, and 3.5 rebounds his first year of high school basketball. His game continued to improve throughout his high school career. By the time he was a junior, he was one of the top players in the state. He led his team to a 22-4 record his junior year, and his team advanced to the 2015 Michigan Class A Semifinal game. Winston averaged 22.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 7.1 assists his junior year.

One goal that Winston wanted to accomplish was to win a state championship. Well, he finally accomplished that his senior year. He led his team to a 28-0 record, and he was named the 2016 Hal Schram Michigan Mr. Basketball Award winner. Winston received many honors and accolades during his time in high school, and he was determined to make an impact at the collegiate level.

Cassius Winston became a star at Michigan State

Winston is a natural point guard. He has a high basketball IQ, and his knowledge of the game is impressive. Those are a few reasons why Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo wanted Winston to play for him. As a freshman, Winston primarily came off the bench appearing in 35 games and making five starts. He averaged 6.7 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 5.2 assists. Winston tied for first in the Big Ten in assists and was fifth in the conference with a 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio. 

He put together an impressive freshman season, and after that, he became the starting point guard. With Winston at point guard, he put his team in many positions to win games, and he was a player that knew when to make the right decision on the court. His court vision is impressive, and he displayed that throughout his college career. 

During his junior year, he helped lead Michigan State to the Final Four, where they lost to Texas Tech. Winston was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and was a Consensus Second Team All-American selection. After coming close to playing in the National Championship game, Winston was eager to make it his senior year.

Winston dealt with a lot during his senior season

There were some ups and downs during Winston’s senior year. He became the all-time leader in assists at Michigan State and in the Big Ten. But before Winston became the all-time leader in the Big Ten, something tragic happened. In November of 2019, Winston’s younger brother, Zachary, died after being hit by a train. The news quickly spread throughout the NCAA, and Cassius was deeply hurt by what happened.

But he continued to play the season with a heavy heart, and before the coronavirus pandemic ended the season, Cassius was gearing up for another deep postseason run. He finished his senior season averaging 18.6 points. Now Cassius is preparing for the NBA draft, and according to Jonathan Wasserman from Bleacher Report, Cassius is a first-round pick.

Wasserman released his draft predictions in early September and had Cassius going to the LA Lakers at the 28th pick. The 2020 NBA draft is two weeks away, and Cassius will be tuned in to see what team he’ll go to.