It’s not often that a player of the year and coach of the year come from the same program, but this year they did.
CBS announced their 2019-20 college basketball preseason awards yesterday afternoon. They named Michigan State guard Cassius Winston player of the year and Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo coach of the year as the countdown begins with 18 days left until the start of NCAA basketball.
Preseason freshman of the year, the third award CBS gives out, was given to North Carolina guard Cole Anthony.
The three awards are voted on by college basketball writers at CBSSports.com and 247Sports as well as broadcasters and analysts from CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network.
Winston earns preseason Player of the Year
As the only All-American player returning to college basketball this season, CBS described Winston as “the obvious and only choice,” for preseason player of the year.
Winston enters the 2019-20 season with 1,411 points and 714 assists in 109 games, putting him in reach of ending his college career with 2,000 points and 1,000 assist, an achievement that has never been done by a Division I player.
CBS also acknowledged Winston’s three-point shooting ability as something that contributed to his selection. As a 43% three-point shooter, CBS wrote that Winston’s three-point ability is “something he somehow still doesn’t receive enough credit for.”
“Remain humble. Every situation you're in, every award you get, it's a blessing, it's an honor ... but you got to remain humble and remember what got you those awards,” Winston said regarding the title.
Izzo earns preseason Coach of the Year
In short, CBS wrote that Izzo was chosen for Coach of the Year because his team “is on the precipice of making program history.” The Spartans will enter this season ranked No. 1 in the AP poll, a position the team has never seen before but will once AP releases their rankings later this month, CBS writes.
Izzo’s team is stacked with players ranked within the top 100 in college basketball including Winston, Xavier Tillman, Josh Langford and Aaron Henry. These veterans strengthen the Spartan roster and provide the team the experience Izzo likes.
Under Izzo’s reign, the Spartans have nine regular season Big Ten titles and have made eight Final Four appearances. Overall, Izzo holds a 606-232 coaching record and is entering his 24th season with the Spartans, making him the longest-tenured basketball coach in the Big Ten.
The Spartans begin their season on Nov. 5 with a game against the University of Kentucky in the Championship Classic.