Recruiting & Scouting

Flint native Miles Bridges follows Winston's lead, commits to Michigan State, hopes to convince Josh Jackson to do likewise

Basketball   | Scott Burnstein

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Call it the Cassius Winston effect.

The moment Winston, U-D Jesuit’s senior basketball star who committed to Michigan State recently, the floodgates might have opened on an all-time great recruiting class. Scouting experts began to speculate on the possibility that by receiving a commitment from Winston would start a rush of commitments to MSU’s doorstep.

The reason is akin to football when a program receives a commitment from a top-notch quarterback. Winston is a point guard, an unselfish point guard who has the uncanny ability to make everyone around him better.

If Winston (considered a four-star prospect and a top 30 national recruit in his class) was the first domino to fall, the second fell on Saturday when Flint-native Miles Bridges followed Winston’s footsteps and committed to MSU. Bridges is a 6-6 forward and a consensus top 10 player in the 2016 class who played at Flint Southwestern as a freshman. He then transferred to Huntington Prep in West Virginia. Bridges said at the news conference that Winston’s decision to go to MSU made him switch choices from Kentucky to MSU.

Could Josh Jackson be next? Jackson is a 6-7 wing and former star at Detroit Consortium now at Prolific Prep in California. He’s ranked No. 1 in the Class of 2016. Jackson led Consortium to the Class C championship in 2014 and grew up playing AAU ball with Winston and Bridges.

“Cassius Winston is an incredible recruiting tool,” T.J. Kelley of Inside Prep Sports, a Midwest scouting service, said. “His style of game and his natural instinct at his position make people want to play with him because they know he’s going to be making them look good with how he sets them up on the floor. Both Myles and Josh know that and with their history together it’s possible they could all end up together (in college). ”

The Bridges snag by the Spartans impresses Kelley, a big fan of his since Bridges was in middle school.

“Miles is like a left-handed Charles Barkley,” Kelley said. “He’s 6-foot-6, but he plays like he’s 6-foot-9 or 6-foot-10 and causes a ton of matchup problems for opposing teams.”

Kelley says Jackson top schools right now are MSU, Kansas, Arizona and North Carolina. But don’t be surprised if he bypasses college and decides to accept a contract from a professional team overseas or a semi-pro team in Las Vegas before declaring for the 2017 NBA Draft.

Bridges is already on the campaign trail to get Jackson to commit to the Spartans. After committing Bridges donned a green-colored t-shirt with the words, “The Class” on it, featuring the names of himself, Jackson, Winston and Josh Langford, another highly-touted MSU commit from Alabama (ranked No. 17 in the Class of 2016 by ESPN).

“We’re not going to be like the Fab Five or Kentucky from a couple years ago (Kentucky’s 2013 class had six McDonald’s All-Americans),” Bridges said. “We’re going to be our own group, we’re going to do it at Michigan State and we’re going to beat everyone that gets in our way. Ever since Cassius committed, I knew this was the place for me. Hopefully Josh will feel the same way.”

In some other recent recruiting news, Rochester Adams shooting guard Spencer Littleson committed to Duquesne. Detroit Allen Academy point guard Jason Williams committed to East Tennessee State. Wayne Memorial wing Keon Epps committed to Eastern Michigan and Stevensville Lakeshore center Braden Burke committed to Robert Morris.