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Sport Q&A With Cassius Winston: Rookie Season, Michigan State Career, NIL Rule, Year 2 Outlook

08:20  15 september  2021
08:20  15 september  2021 Source:   msn.com

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EAST LANSING – Cassius Winston explained his dazzling performance Sunday as if the season had just begun, as if Michigan State ’s 87-69 win over Michigan was some early November game, a first look at who he’d become as a player since last season . Winston solved each of them, directing traffic against the zone, probing, creating, deciding when he needed to hit Michigan with a shot of his own — like his back-to-back 3-pointers in the second half. His sense of timing is part of what makes him great. “We call them kill shots,” said Winston , who'd never scored 30 points at MSU before

East Lansing, MI – At Michigan State , Cassius Winston was a superstar, and rightfully so considering everything he accomplished. At that time, his sidekick was Xavier Tillman Sr., but since the two have been drafted, he's taken a backseat whereas, Tillman made his debut first and scored his first bucket before Winston received any playing The Detroit native played two minutes, missed the only shot he took, and dished an assist; something Spartan fans saw hundreds of times. Winston was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder using the 53rd overall pick and immediately traded to the Wizards.

a person standing in front of a crowd: michigan state point guard cassius winston against duke © Provided by The Spun michigan state point guard cassius winston against duke

Cassius Winston’s NBA journey is far from over. With the 2021-22 season roughly a month away, the Michigan State product is ready to show what he can do at the pro level.

Winston was undoubtedly one of the best guards in the country when he was at Michigan State, winning Big Ten Player of the Year in 2019. He was then selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the 53rd pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. His draft rights were then quickly traded to the Washington Wizards.

The Wizards gave Winston some playing time as a rookie, but it was tough to find minutes in a backcourt that featured two of the best guards in the game in Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook.

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The latest stats, facts, news and notes on Cassius Winston of the Michigan State Spartans.

Michigan State , with returning starting point guard Cassius Winston and most of his supporting cast, is almost assuredly in line to be preseason No. 1 for the first time in its proud history. Minnesota coach Richard Pitino may want to kick his first practice of the season off with a meet-and-greet. The Gophers have seven new players (four traditional signees, one graduate transfer and two traditional players) -- a flood of talent that could help Pitino stave off the loss of six of his top eight scorers last season .

Although his role wasn’t that significant during the 2020-21 season, Winston has found himself a place to call home in the nation’s capital. In late August, he re-signed with the Wizards on a two-way contract.

With the 2021-22 season roughly a month away, The Spun caught up with Winston to discuss his outlook for Year 2, what he has learned thus far in the NBA, his thoughts on the NIL rule and much more.

The Spun: You recently signed with the Washington Wizards on a two-way deal. Why was that the right move for you?

Cassius Winston: I think the franchise has been very good to me, supporting me, wanting to give me an opportunity. They’ve seen me put the work in and things like that. Hopefully, that’ll open up an opportunity for me to get out there and play. I love D.C. and I love what we got going on, so it was an easy decision to come back.

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Michigan State star Cassius Winston ’s grief is so heavy, not even basketball can ease it. He coached at Albion High School after a long career at the college level. His son, MJ, plays for Albion A half-hour later, Winston ’s youngest brother, Khy, arrived from Albion with an assistant basketball coach. The season isn’t finished. The NBA is out there. He’s grateful for all the condolences and

His senior season at Michigan State cut short, just weeks from potentially capping four years with another run to the Final Four and a shot at that elusive national championship, Winston is being forced to chase the next dream in his life — a career in the NBA — with no real road map. Michigan State had started rolling at what seemed to be the perfect time, winning the final five games of the regular season to win a share of a third straight Big Ten championship. Mission No. 1 had been accomplished with the Big Ten tournament and NCAA Tournament to follow before Winston headed off to the NBA.

The Spun: Last season was tough for G-League players because of COVID-19. What are you hoping you’ll be able to show in the G-League and on the Wizards’ main roster?

CW: I hope it opens up those opportunities for me to show what I can do. I want to have an actual G-League season and have a chance to play on the main team. I got to keep improving my game and help the team win, whichever team it is.

The Spun: Do you have any goals for the 2021-22 NBA season?

CW: I want to be in the rotation, that’s my goal. I want to be a player who’s in the rotation, makes plays and helps the team win games. If I can do that, I can continue to improve from there.

The Spun: What were you able to learn from Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook last season?

CW: A lot of things. I was around some really good veterans who want to teach you, guide you and make you get better. Those two were great to me. Being able to pick their brain about anything – time and situation of the game, stuff outside of basketball – is great for me.

The Spun: You were extremely popular during your time at Michigan State. When you see these NIL deals getting done, do you ever think “They couldn’t have done that earlier?”

CW: For sure. If they just did it a year earlier, that would’ve been cool with me [laughing]. I think it’s a good rule. They have to figure some things out with this new era, but they’re going in the right direction.

The Spun: Do you have a favorite moment from your time at Michigan State?

CW: That’s tough. Going to the Final Four was great – beating Duke was a good one. My last game there was another one. Winning a Big Ten championship is something I’ll remember for a long time as well.

The Spun: What would be the recruiting pitch for someone deciding between Michigan and Michigan State?

CW: I would say going to Michigan State is a place where you can learn how to bring it every single day. There’s no other way to do it, you need to bring your A game every single day. If Coach Izzo can bring that out of you, it’ll take your game to the next level. It’s a challenge, but if you can get through that, you can make it anywhere.

The Spun: How excited are you to play in front of full crowds again?

CW: I’m excited, I’m excited. I remember watching NBA games when I was little and seeing those crazy atmospheres. I want to see it from the other side now. I want to put on a show for the fans and give them something to root for.

The Spun: Washington revamped its coaching staff in the offseason. Have you been able to interact with the new staff and get a feel for what they expect from the team?

CW: We’ve been here working together and going through concepts. We’re trying to win, that’s the goal. We’re trying to be a playoff team. Everybody has bought into the culture and that’s why we’re already working out together.

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The Spun: Is there one area of your game that you’re trying to improve?

CW: I think I spent a lot of time this offseason getting stronger, getting my body to that point where I can get to my spots better. I also want to get more consistent with my shots. I need to knock down shots to give some of our guys more space.

The Spun: What does Cassius Winston like to do during his free time?

CW: I’m big on family. I talk to my family and go out to eat with them. That’s probably one of my favorite things to do. I love to watch movies, play video games and go to arcades. I spend my free time doing exactly what I want to do at any moment.

The Spun: Do you have a favorite show or movie?

CW: My favorite movie of all time is “Shrek.” I can watch “Shrek” at any point. So either that or the “Dark Knight” trilogy.

The Spun: What would be your advice for this year’s rookie class?

CW: Just embrace it and enjoy every part of this journey, the ups, the downs. No matter how you start, there’ll be a lot of ups and downs. Embrace the grind and continue to work on your game.

The Spun: How would describe your basketball career thus far, and where do you hope to be in 3-5 years from now?

CW: My basketball career has been a journey. I’m just rolling with it, constantly getting better and taking advantage of my opportunities. I hope that in four or five years from now, I’ll be even better and be one of those names in the league that every night has a role on the team. I’m looking forward to improving each year, and I like my chances with that.

***

It wasn’t until Winston’s second season with the Spartans that he became a household name at the collegiate level. Perhaps we’ll see a similar leap from Winston at the pro level in the next year or so.

Winston always had the IQ and creativity to play a role on the Wizards. Now, he’ll finally have a chance to show what he can do in the Wizards’ rotation.

You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.

The post Q&A With Cassius Winston: Rookie Season, Michigan State Career, NIL Rule, Year 2 Outlook appeared first on The Spun.

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