Battle for Cassius Winston in Home Stretch

With one official visit to Stanford down and three more stops to go, 2016 U of D Jesuit point guard Cassius Winston is in the final stages of comparing and contrasting his finalists. The most difficult comparison appears to be the one between in-state rivals Michigan and Michigan State, each of whom hosted the Motor City standout on unofficial visits last weekend.

The finish line for recruiting is in sight for Cassius Winston.  The U of D Jesuit point guard took the first of his four scheduled official visits two weekends ago and came away extremely impressed.

“It was nice,” Winston’s father Reg told The Michigan Insider.  “It was a great visit. We went out there to see it and were pleasantly surprised by what they had to offer and had available there.  Coach Dawkins is a great guy.  If I had to send my kid off to somewhere, I would be comfortable sending him out there.”

Next up on the visit docket will be a trip to Pittsburgh September 5th, followed by a stop Michigan State September 12th, and finally Michigan September 19th. While Winston insists his recruiting race is wide open, many recruiting pundits believe the Spartans and Wolverines will ultimately duke it out for supremacy.  The four-star floor general has become a regular on both campuses over the last few years, and he made his way back to each again last weekend.

“Saturday we went up to watch Michigan State practice. Sunday we went to watch U of M work out,” Mr. Winston reported.  “The more we see, the more it helps with the decision aspect of it. It is about spending a little time going, looking, and seeing with our eyes how they practice, how they get along, (and) their playing style.”

It also gave the Winstons more time with each coaching staff.

“Coach Izzo just seems like he has got his players back and it is not just on the court during his basketball career, it’s also beyond his basketball career,” said Mr. Winston.  “(He’s) just a great resource (and) great person to have your back.  Those are some of the things that we like… his track record dealing with other kids that played with (Winston’s AAU team) ‘The Family’ that played for him.  What he says is pretty much etched in stone.”

“What we like about Beilein is he is a man of high character (and) integrity.  He seems like he is a straight-shooter.  He has been good about telling us exactly where things stand in the process.  We like his style of play and the freedom that he allows the kids to play with.  That’s definitely a good thing.”

In other words the Winston family likes them both.  Dawkins and Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon have made favorable impressions as well.  The younger Winston hasn’t yet put his finger on what exactly will separate one school from the pack, but his dad says he’ll know it when he sees it.

“They’re all great programs,” Mr. Winston stated.  “They all offer just so many resources for him as far as the academic part, the playing style, and all those things like that.  We didn’t want to make a rushed decision.  We just want to go through the process and go through the visits.  Then after that we’ll see. Weigh out the pros and cons.”

“It ain’t easy. He just wants to go to the one that he is the most comfortable at and he can grow the most. We don’t have a deadline (for making a decision).  We’re going to sit back, make a list, and try to think of what we think are pros and cons.  (We’ll) talk as a family… and ultimately it is going to be his decision… but we want to talk to the family, give our little input, pray on it, and take it from there.”

And if the school Winston chooses happens to be one he has in common with his AAU teammate Miles Bridges, all the better. But one thing I clear… the talented youngsters are not joined at the hip.

“They vibe together and they play good together, so (being college teammates) would be great,” Mr. Winston said.  “Really we just want what’s best for each of the kids.  Whatever Miles thinks is best for him, that’s what we want.  If he does want to play with Cassius, great.  But Miles got so many great choices too.  We rooting for him all the time.  We wouldn’t be rooting for him when we playing against him.”

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