Michigan State Basketball: When I knew Cassius Winston was for real

Cassius Winston, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Cassius Winston, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Watching Cassius Winston play basketball: Fun. Playing against Cassius: not fun. This is when I knew the Michigan State basketball star was for real.

As the FOX College Basketball broadcast team will never let you forget for as long as Gus Johnson calls a Michigan State basketball game, Cassius Winston played his high school ball at the University of Detroit Jesuit, a member of Michigan’s Catholic High School League. But, like I said, there’s not a snowball’s chance in the bad place that you wouldn’t have known that.

What you probably don’t know, however, is that I also attended a Catholic League school in Warren De La Salle (no further questions).

For those who haven’t been to De La Salle, let me paint a picture for you. When built, it was a middle school, so the athletic facilities are, in the spirit of Catholic generosity, modest. You feel this especially in the Bill Fox Gymnasium; perfect for parents to listlessly watch seventh grade basketball, but not so great for hosting a major high school basketball game featuring a potential Mr. Basketball.

But come tip-off, every inch of the gym that wasn’t an active playing surface was occupied.

Cassius started slow, and the DLS student section let him know about it. It was the real life version of that “is this your king?” meme, except less cool because it was a high school basketball game, and not two estranged family members fighting for the right to rule a futuristic utopia.

U of D went to the locker room under a firestorm of “overrated” chants. What happened next was classic Cassius.

U of D started with the ball to start the second half, and Cassius started to take the ball up. As he crossed half-court, he stopped, looked at the defense, and launched what had to be a 35-footer. The net barely moved. I can’t remember what happened after that shot went in, but I swear on my life that Cassius turned to our student section and shrugged. Again, not 100 percent sure on this, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t miss a shot.

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Cassius and Co. walked out with a win, that I am certain of. Watching Cassius pull a Temple of Doom heart ripping out maneuver is fun when he’s doing it on your behalf. When you watch it happen to your classmates in a 90 degree gymnasium with barely enough room to turn your head, it’s not as fun. Still pretty fun, but just, like 15 percent less so.