There has never really been any question about Tom Izzo’s ability to coach. The man has been to seven Final Fours and won a national title. Along the way he has also had a stable of impressive players, but this 2016 recruiting class could go down as one of his best. Now with Cassius Winston in the fold, there is no doubt it is elite.
It is only a three man class, that could still grow in a big way, but it is a class that Izzo and his staff are really happy with. Winston is the highest rated four-star prospect in the class checking in at No. 28 overall, and his ability to score and distribute from the point guard position is impressive.
Before going down with a wrist injury at the end of April, Winston was leading the EYBL in scoring. His ability to get into the lane and finish as well as make shots is something that is very impressive. Beyond that he has a good feel for the game and is more than capable of getting others involved.
This goes perfectly with wing Josh Langford and center Nick Ward. Both Langford and Ward are longtime Spartan commitments, and each has the ability to really make things happen in their own way. Ward is one of the best low post scorers in the country while Langford is someone who does a little bit of everything from the wing, and is a good athlete with a lot of toughness.
More than anything this class could come in right away and make an immediate impact because these are all prospects are more than ready to compete physically even in the demanding Big Ten.
Winston is a tough 6-foot-1 and 185 pound point guard who doesn’t lack for strength. While he isn’t an elite athlete, he can compete on both ends of the floor and physically is ready for college basketball. While some guards really have a lot of work to do in the weight room, Winston is already there, and combine that with his natural ability and starting from day one isn’t out of the equation.
Langford is as physically imposing a wing as there is in high school basketball. At around 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds, Langford already looks like a player who has already been in a college weight room. Add in his feel for the game, and it isn’t unreasonable to think that he could start from day one.
Finally there is Ward who goes about 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds. With that size he already has the strength to defend on the low block and even overpower college players. Now he does need to continue to re-shape his body, but still Ward has a college ready body, and though it will be tough, he could compete for starting minutes from day one.
Overall you rarely see such a talented and physically mature group coming into one college program in the same recruiting cycle, but that is exactly what Izzo and his staff have put together with this impressive class of 2016.