Call it the heat of the moment, but Michigan State star Cassius Winston sounds like a player who could be making a return to East Lansing.
Michigan State fell 61-51 to Texas Tech on Saturday night in the Final Four, coming up two wins shy of claiming a national championship. Despite the loss, the Spartans still claimed a B1G regular season title and conference tournament title and finished the year 32-7.
Winston was named the B1G Player of the Year and earned All-America honors. After a spectacular junior campaign, the Michigan State leader seemed like a lock to throw his name in the NBA Draft.
After Saturday night, though, Winston sounds like a player who wants one more shot at title at the college level.
“I want to win a championship,” Winston said, according to 97.1 The Ticket. “I want to do that on each and every level. When I leave my mark on Michigan State, I want to be known as a winner, and you can’t do that without that last piece.”
Winston will have no trouble being remembered as a winner, leading his team to conference titles, three victories over rival Michigan and win against Duke and superstar Zion Williamson. But for Winston, a championship would help confirm his status as one of the top players in Michigan State history.
Though he wants to win a title on the college level, Winston will likely still test the NBA Draft waters. He can go through the process to receive feedback from scouts while still maintaining his eligibility at Michigan State. It’s a route several players are taking.
Perhaps Winston was speaking too quickly on the situation, out of anguish after a heartbreaking loss with a championship so close he could touch it. Or maybe that’s the fire inside Winston to win and leave East Lansing with a legacy comparable to Mateen Cleaves and Magic Johnson.
Either way, we’ll find out soon enough. But Winston’s statements Saturday night sure make it seem likely that he’s plotting a return to Michigan State for one more run.