Cassius Winston made official his commitment to Michigan State basketball today at his school, U-D Jesuit, and that means his future school should be set at point guard through the spring of 2020.
And that’s a coup for Tom Izzo, who is one commitment away from a class that could be regarded his best. Pass-first point guards aren’t abundant, pass-first point guards who can score are less abundant, and the 6-foot, 185-pound Winston has the size/athleticism profile of a four-year college player.
In some ways, he’s the perfect recruit.
College coaches all want some “one and done” on the roster, and not just because that means talent on the roster. It’s almost required to be able to get more talent these days, in part because Kentucky coach John Calipari has managed to convince a lot of folks that his greatest skill (recruiting NBA players) is actually a different skill (developing NBA players).
“We want all our players to be one-and-done and if that happens it’ll be the greatest day in the history of our program and maybe the world” should just be every program’s motto now, because no one wants to be accused of “holding back” a great player.
But of course every coach wants stability on the roster – Calipari is going to enjoy point guard Tyler Ulis for four years – and that’s what Izzo should have in Winston. He’ll share point guard duties with Tum Tum Nairn in 2016-17 and 2017-18, two teams that look promising on paper.
In Winston’s freshman year, the perimeter group beyond Nairn is scheduled to include Eron Harris, Javon Bess, Matt McQuaid, Kyle Ahrens and Alvin Ellis, along with an incoming wing in Joshua Langford who may be too talented to play four years of college ball. Incoming big man Nick Ward will join with Gavin Schilling and Deyonta Davis – also no lock to go four years – in the post, with Marvin Clark giving MSU a small look at power forward.
That reads like a title contender. Harris, Schilling and Ellis will be seniors that year, and in 2017 the strong possibilities include Saginaw native Brian Bowen, a consensus top-25 player in the rankings who is a cousin of former MSU great Jason Richardson.
But back to Kentucky and “one and done.” MSU’s 2016 class and 2016-17 team could receive yet another lift if 6-7 forward Miles Bridges of Flint and Huntington (W.Va.) Prep picks the Spartans over the Wildcats and Indiana on Oct. 3. Bridges’ stay in college, wherever he chooses, could be quite short.
The bad news for MSU is that Bridges is visiting Kentucky this weekend. The good news for MSU is that he appeared to enjoy his official visit in East Lansing last weekend, hanging out with Langford, Ward and good friend Winston — and that he moved up his Kentucky visit from an October “Big Blue Madness” weekend that serves as a key Calipari recruiting tool.
Bridges could make for Izzo’s best class, and one of his best rosters in 2016-17. Already, though, Izzo has a versatile wing, big-bodied post scorer and true point guard committed. The latter is the latest, and could end up the greatest in total contribution.