As expected, Cassius Winston of U-D is Mr. Basketball
Detroit – No, this season’s selection for the Hal Schram Mr. Basketball award wasn’t a slam dunk. Rather it was a no-look pass for a layup.
That’s how Cassius Winston would have it scripted.
Winston, a 6-1 guard from U-D Jesuit, became the 36th recipient of what it widely regarded as the state’s most prestigious individual award, which is sponsored by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan in conjunction with the Detroit Free Press. The presentation was made in downtown Detroit inside the Free Press/Detroit News building.
Winston, who signed with Michigan State, easily outdistanced the other four finalists. Winston collected 70 percent of the first place votes and totaled 4,286 points (voting by members of the Basketball Coach Association of Michigan is done on a 5-3-1 basis). Austin Davis of Onsted was second with 2,829 points. Finishing third was Spencer Littleson of Rochester Adams (1,640) followed by Corey Allen of Ypsilanti (1,597) and Karmari Newman of Detroit East English Village Prep was fifth with 1,024 points.
Winston was the top-ranked player going into this season so this was no surprise.
U-D coach Pat Donnelly said when he saw Winston play as a seventh grade student at the U-D Academy he thought this day was possible.
“I watched him in the CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) as a seventh grader,” he said. “He played with a broken foot and scored 29 points. He was taking step-back jump shots then.”
Winston’s team lost that championship game.
U-D (25-0) is favored to win the Class A title later this week in East Lansing but before the Cubs take that bus trip they’ll have to win Tuesday’s quarterfinal. U-D, ranked No. 1 all season, will play Ypsilanti (22-1) at Calihan Hall at 5 p.m.
Winston is averaging 21.6 points, 7.2 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 2.2 steals. He’s shooting 55 percent from the field, 43 percent from the 3-point range and 88 percent from the free throw line.
“The team definitely leads to my success,” Winston said. The guys make shots and I get the assist.”
Winston led the Cubs to the Class A semifinals his sophomore and junior seasons, and U-D won the Catholic League title all four years with Winston in the lineup. He’s the only player to play on four Catholic League championship teams.
Winston is the second player from the league to win this award. Jon Garavaglia of Southgate Aquinas won the award in 1993. Winston is also the 11th player from a Detroit school to win it. Keith Appling of Detroit Pershing (2010) was the most recent.
Perhaps the two biggest obstacles in Winston path to win the award were removed when Josh Jackson of Detroit Consortium and Myles Bridges of Flint Southwestern transferred to a prep school. Jackson transferred after leading Consortium to the Class C title his sophomore season and ridges left after his freshman year.
“Those two leaving probably helped,” Winston said.
“Right now I’m the best player in Michigan and you can’t take that away from me.”