Cassius Winston had a long list of accomplishments at Michigan State. He led the Spartans to Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles and into the Final Four. He was the Big Ten player of the year, an Associated Press All-America, one of the nation's best players.
No one would have blamed the gritty guard for bolting to the NBA. His place in Michigan State history was already secured.
But Winston wanted more, to add to his legacy in East Lansing, so he opted to return for his senior season.
Winston is the only consensus selection on The Associated Press preseason All-America team announced Tuesday, a day after Michigan State was ranked No. 1 in the AP preseason poll.
He is joined by high-scoring Marquette senior guard Markus Howard, Louisville junior forward Jordan Nwora, Seton Hall senior guard Myles Powell and Memphis freshman James Wiseman on the five-player team.
"He is the straw that stirs the drink and I think deserves all the attention he's been getting because he is a special player," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said of his star player. "But I think he's handled it pretty well too with a lot of class and has worked hard."
Winston is rarely the tallest, fastest or most athletic player on the floor. He reportedly can't even dunk.
But the 6-foot-1 guard is often the best player out there.
Smart and able to see things before they develop, Winston has a feel for the game that allows him to beat players with more size and athleticism.
Winston has steadily progressed during his time in East Lansing, going from a reliable backup as a freshman to one of the nation's best floor leaders. He averaged 18.8 points and 7.5 assists as a junior, leading the Spartans to the Final Four.
... Spartans guard Joshua Langford had a setback in his return from a foot injury, and the senior will be re-evaluated in January. Langford played only 13 games last season, averaging 15 points.
AROUND THE HORN
Soccer: The National Women's Soccer League announced that Louisville, Ky., will field a team in 2021.
Media: ESPN's "Outside the Lines" will be downsized from its current daily 30-minute afternoon slot to an hour-long Saturday morning edition, the network announced Tuesday. The noon edition of 'SportsCenter' will expand in its place.
Flanagan takes seventh
Junior Angus Flanagan of the Gophers shot a 3-under 69 his final round to tie for seventh in the Tavistock College Invitational in Windermere, Fla., with a 212 total.
It was his third straight top-10 finish. He was first in the Macdonald Cup and second in the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate earlier this fall.
As a team, the Gophers finished in a tie for11th at 17 over with an 881 total in the 15-team event.
• Gophers sophomore hockey captain Sammy Walker was named Big Ten's second star of the week. Walker had two goals, including the overtime winner on Friday, and an assist in sweep of Niagara. Wisconsin goalie Daniel Lebedeff, who keyed a sweep of then-No. 3 Minnesota Duluth, was named first star, and Michigan forward Jack Becker of Dellwood was named third star after scoring three goals in a sweep of Lake Superior State.
• Junior Emily Brown of the Gophers was named the WCHA defenseman of the week after scoring twice and getting an assist in a sweep of St. Cloud State.
• Carleton wide receiver Emanual Williams and the St. John's offensive line of Ben Bartch, Dan Greenheck, Josh Juaire, Nick Neumann, and Karl Rude were named to the D3football.com's team of the week.
• Wisconsin-Superior defeated visiting Northwestern (St. Paul) 6-1 in men's soccer to finish 8-0 in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.
staff and wire reports