After three years, going on his fourth, senior guard Cassius Winston has played a lot of big games for Spartan basketball. Winston has been at the helm of Big Ten Championships, a Final Four run and everything in between. Winston gets to start this season with another big game, but for a different reason than the stakes being high.
On Tuesday evening, Michigan State will kick off their basketball season with an exhibition game against Albion. On Albion’s roster: sophomore Zachary Winston and freshman Khy Winston. They are Cassius Winston’s brothers.
The game is just an exhibition, it won’t count towards the Spartans' record or regular season stats, but Winston believes it will go down as one of the most special games he has played.
“Probably up there with the best of them, just to have this moment to be out there with my family, with my brothers. It doesn’t get any better than that, so I’m going to go out there and just enjoy every moment of it,” Winston said.
Winston has played against his brothers in open gyms and for fun, and has played with his brother Zachary on varsity in high school, but has never played against them in a game setting.
“This is the first time I’ve played against them. I played with my brother Zach, a couple years on varsity, never played with Khy. This will be our first time playing against each other in an actual game setting,” Winston said.
The game will serve as a get together for the Winston family, as they will look to fill the seats in Albion’s purple and gold, as well as the Spartans’ green and white.
“As many tickets as we can get, that’s how many people are going to be there. It’s going to be a lot of people in purple and gold and green and white. So, it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Winston said.
Just a day away, the trash talk has already begun for the tight-knit brothers. While Zachary and Khy think they will take Cassius down on his own court, he has other plans.
“They think they are going to come here, win. I feel like we are going to blow them out, that’s kind of how it goes. I kind of want to embarrass them, but I hope it’s all out of fun,” he said.
Winston wants to remind his brothers who big brother is and exactly why he is.
“I’m the big brother, I’m always gonna exert my dominance, no matter what the setting is. So, make sure they know that I’m big brother for a reason, and after that we can have some fun,” he said.
But, for the two Albion guards, they already know who big brother is and have looked up to Winston in many ways. Winston strives to make them proud and is thankful that they look up to him like they do.
“It means the world, those guys kind of looking up to me, following me in a lot of ways. To make them proud, you know that’s huge to me, it means a lot to me,” Winston said.
As much as the pair value Winston’s support, he also holds what they think extremely high. To get praise from the two is all Winston could ask for.
”Their opinion means everything to me. If they feel like I’m doing a good job, then I truly feel like I’m doing a good job. To have that kind of praise from those two, it doesn’t get any better than that,” he said.
Tuesday night will serve as a battle of the brothers. There will be trash talk, there will be emotion, but there will also be support.
The only Winston that might not have fun is their mother, Wendi Winston, as she will have to decide which of her sons to cheer on.
“She’s a little torn, she doesn’t know what side to root for, who to root for. It’s hard to choose. At the end of the day she’s gonna win, because a Winston is gonna win.”