Tom Izzo and his staff have been keeping a watchful eye on the Nike EYBL Spring Session because two 4-Star recruits - Miles Bridges and Cassius Winston - play on the same AAU Team (The Family-Detroit). Last year at this time, it was Swanigan and Davis playing for Spiece Indy Heat. In fact, all four kids are good friends.
Bridges is an interesting story. He lives in Flint, Michigan, about 45 miles from East Lansing, but plays high school ball for Huntington Prep (WV). Between high school and the AAU circuit, he is hardly home. The 6' 6" Small Forward has received 15 offers, including Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Indiana, Louisville, and UCONN.
The senior has the ability to drive to the rim and finish, as well as, stepping back from three-point range. His stats this spring are impressive, averaging 17.4 PPG. and 8.1 RPG. During the regular season he guided Huntington Prep to a 34-3 record and a No.4 ranking in the country (Max Preps Xcellant 25). He averaged 15.7 PPG. and 10.6 RPG.
Rivals.com ranks Bridges as the No.28 player in the country. According to Branden Hunter (Michigan Preps), "Many believe Michigan State is the team to beat for Bridges...and that the Spartans are certainly making it known that Bridges is wanted in East Lansing."
Winston is a Point Guard from University of Detroit Jesuit High. The high-octane 6-footer has received eight offers, including Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, and Iowa. Rivals ranks Winston as the No.23 player in the nation. He led Jesuit to a 22-4 mark.
In the MHSAA Class A Quarterfinals, Winston scored 34 points, including the game winner, and dished out seven assists in a 56-54 win over Clakston. They lost their next tournament game to Detroit-Western International 55-46.
Some point guards are scorers and some are facilitators. Winston is both. After seven games this Spring, he is averaging 21.3 PPG. and 5.1 APG. with 18 steals. He shoots for a high percentage from the field (49%), three-point (41%), and the foul line (85%).
The Family is 5-3 overall and finished 3-1 at the Lexington Preview April 24-26. They opened play Friday with a 74-72 win over Athletes First (OK). Winston paved the way with 32 points and Bridges added 17 points.
They were blown out by E1T1 (FL) 90-66 Saturday morning, but finished strong in the afternoon session with a 62-58 win over Nike South Beach (FL). In that game, Winston scored 15 points and Bridges added 14 points.
Both Bridges and Winston had monster performances Sunday as The Family beat Playaz Basketball Club (NJ) 79-76 in a high-scoring thriller. Bridges dropped 37 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and recorded two blocks. Struggling from the field most of the Spring session, Bridges found his groove, converting 14-of-24 shots, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.
Winston was equally impressive with 28 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. He was 12-of-21 from the floor and 3-of-3 from three-point range.
Don't be surprised to see Bridges and Winston in Spartan uniforms the start of the 2016 season. Senior shooting guard Denzel Valentine will have graduated and both 2015 recruits Caleb Swanigan and Deyonta Davis will be sophomores and eligible for the NBA Draft.
Give credit to Izzo for keeping one step ahead of the "one and done" era of big-time college basketball.