Michigan State’s 2016 recruiting class just received a major boost. Cassius Winston, a 4-star point guard from Detroit, announced his decision to join the Spartans on Friday. Winston is the third player in the 2016 class to verbally commit to Tom Izzo’s program, and his presence will certainly help stabilize the Spartans future backcourt.
So what exactly does Winston have to offer? Obviously he’s young and still has plenty of time to develop, but here’s a look at the Detroit product’s skill set.
First off, Winston is a very mature player with a tremendous feel for the game. When you watch him, it’s hard not to notice the complete control that he seems to have over everything. Offensively, he brings a very well-rounded skill-set to the table. He may not be the fastest player, but he is very quick and has the ability to get to a spot on the court when he wants. He’s a ridiculously good ball-handler who can attack the rim and get to the basket consistently. And while his jump shot isn’t currently a huge part of his game, it has improved a lot since he started high school.
But while Winston is an impressive scorer who averaged 22 points a game for Detroit U-D Jesuit last season, he might be an even better passer. What makes Winston stand out in this area is his terrific court vision. He knows where his teammates are at all times, where they like to get the ball and how to make court-length passes look simple. The combination of his passing and scoring is what makes him so dangerous. Even if a defense manages to bottle him up, he’ll almost always find an open man somewhere.
If you need proof, just watch here.
As you can see, Winston looks like a magician on the court at times, even when he’s not scoring. And having averaged 7 assists and 5 rebounds to go along with the 22 points last season, he’s certainly no one-trick pony. By the time he gets to college, he should be ready to be an impact player right away.
Areas for Improvement
There’s nothing really glaring here to take note of. The biggest thing is probably that his isn’t huge at 6’2" and 195 pounds. Still, he’s bigger than plenty of guards his age, and while some teams may try to target him by putting bigger guards on him, that’s certainly not a deal breaker. He’s also not the most jaw-dropping athlete in the world, but with his skill-set, he doesn’t really need to be. The smartest thing for him to do over the next year will be to continue to work on his jumper and defense, two things that will certainly be tested at the college level. But all these things are nitpicks that shouldn’t prevent Winston from being a productive player.
Winston's commitment is a big victory for the Spartans and a good choice by the point guard. Not only does it give the Spartans more future talent, it's be a good situation for Winston, who will get to learn under current sophomore and starter Lourawls Nairn Jr. Still, with the rest of Spartans; backcourt players mainly shooting guards, Winston will have the opportunity to play right away without facing the pressure to start immediately. That's a win-win situation.
This is also a major commitment because it helps put together what is an absolutely stacked 2016 recruiting class for the Spartans. Along with Josh Langford and Nick Ward, the class is now ranked #1 on 247Sports' team rankings and may very well end up as the top class in the country considering that the Spartans are still in very good position to land 5-star forward Miles Bridges.