Incoming Michigan State point guard Cassius Winston will get a chance to represent the United States prior to beginning his freshman season with the Spartans. The 6-foot Winston was one of 26 players USA Basketball invited to attend training camp for the Under-18 national team. He is one of eight invitees who are graduating high school this spring, while the remaining players are in the class of 2017.
USA Basketball will hold two camps this summer, the first from June 14-18 in Colorado Springs and the second from July 11-15 in Houston. The camps serve as tryouts, as 12 of the 26 players will make up the United States team that joins coach Shaka Smart at the FIBA Americas U18 Championships in Chile from July 19-23. The experience would allow Winston to experience high-level basketball prior to making the jump to college.
Winston would provide the United States with a strong lead guard to run the show. He is coming off an impressive senior year in which he led University of Detroit Jesuit High School to the MIchigan Class A state championship. The do-it-all point guard averaged 21.9 points, 7.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game this season, his fourth as a starter. A four-star recruit according to 247Sports and ESPN, Winston won Michigan's Mr. Basketball award, while also being named the Gatorade State Player of the Year and the USA Today State Player of the Year.
Winston is part of a high-powered Michigan State 2016 recruiting class that also includes Miles Bridges, Josh Langford and Nick Ward, who are all top-40 recruits according to ESPN. The Spartans are also waiting on a possible addition to that vaunted class as four-star forward Taurean Thompson is one of the last members of the class of 2016 to commit, and Michigan State is newly in the mix.
When the Spartans offered Thompson on April 28, they quickly jumped two previous favorites in Georgetown and Providence. The Spartans are now in Thompson's final three, along with Syracuse and Seton Hall. The 6-foot-10 Thompson has already made official visits to Syracuse and Seton Hall, but according to USA Today he is working on scheduling a trip to East Lansing.
Syracuse has long been the favorite for Thompson, who attends Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Seton Hall will face a hurdle if they want to sign Thompson. The Pirates recently reached their 2016 NCAA scholarship limit with the commitment of Eron Gordon, meaning they would need to take a player off of scholarship in order to give one to Thompson.
If Tom Izzo and the Spartans can pull of the late recruitment, Thompson could enter the rotation during his freshman year. Despite 6-foot-9 UNLV transfer Ben Carter joining the roster, Michigan State is still looking for depth down low. The graduation of 6-foot-9 Matt Costello and the departure of 6-foot-10 Deyonta Davis to the NBA draft led the Spartans to offer Thompson.
The Spartans also got some news on the 2017 recruiting front as four-star point guard Paul Scruggs whittled his collegiate options down to eight schools on Monday. One of the top players in his class, Michigan State has a lot of competition for the 6-foot-4 Scruggs, an Indiana native. Scruggs is apparently looking to stay relatively close to home. Along with the Spartans, he is considering Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State and Xavier. According to 247Sports, Scruggs is the top player in Indiana and the 16th-ranked player in the class of 2017.
Getting a commitment from a player like Scruggs, who averaged 19.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists as a junior, would give the Spartans a foundational piece for what could be a big recruiting class.