Winston carries on in wake of brother’s death


Cassius Winston – Point guard leads Spartans with a heavy heart

Cassius Winston

On the night of Saturday, Nov. 9, Michigan State’s Cassius Winston received news that no 21-year-old should ever have to hear – that his younger brother Zachary had stepped in front of a train and was killed.

Devastated, the senior point guard was given the option of sitting out the following night’s game, the home opener against Binghamton, which he declined. With a heavy heart, he took the court and led the Spartans to an emotional 100-47 victory with 17 points and 11 assists.

Such is life these days for Winston, a high-IQ point guard blessed with great passing ability and exceptional vision. He has suffered in the months since his brother’s death and basketball, his passion in life, offers little relief. Still, he plays even though at times he has trouble focusing.

And he’s played well. As of mid-December, he was averaging 16.9 points per game on 40.3 percent shooting, to go with six assists and a 33.3 percent accuracy rate from three-point land. Those numbers are slightly off from his junior year (18.8, 46.0, 7.5, 39.8) but they’re still enough to keep the Spartans in the fight in the Big Ten Conference and ranked at No. 14.

Winston’s best game came at the Maui Invitational on Nov. 26, when his 28 points and eight assists paved the way for a 93-85 win over Georgia. Still, his pain was evident as hours earlier, he sat sobbing in the locker room at Lahaina Civic Center while his teammates warmed up on court.

Winston and the Spartans can be seen in action Sunday, Jan. 12, when they drop in on the Purdue Boilermakers in a clash of Big Ten rivals airing on CBS.


Name: Cassius Winston

Birth date: Feb. 28, 1998

Hometown: Detroit

Height/weight: 6 feet, 1 inch/185 pounds

Teams: Michigan State Spartans (2016-present)

Class: Senior

Position: Point guard

No.: 5

Honors and achievements: Big Ten Player of the Year (2019); First-Team All Big Ten (2019); Consensus Second-Team All American (2019); Mr. Basketball of Michigan (2016)

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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