In Play with Tom Markowski

Winston, U-D shine on opening night

Basketball   | Tom Markowski

State Champs! Sports Network

 

Detroit – Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and a few of his friends dropped by Detroit Mumford on Monday to watch one of the state’s best teams, U-D Jesuit, and, yes, its junior guard Cassius Winston.

And Winston and his team didn’t disappoint.

Winston had 32 points, 11 assists and six rebounds and U-D defeated Chicago Morgan Park 80-69 before a standing-room-only crowd on the first night of the boys basketball season.

Winston had 11 points in the first quarter, 16 at halftime, as U-D took a 41-39 lead.

U-D coach Pat Donnelly made a defensive change and his players turned up the defensive pressure in the third quarter. The Cubs held Morgan Park to three points in those eight minutes and took a commanding 56-42 lead.

“The intensity was tremendous,” Donnelly said. “It is the first game but I told my players you have to come out and play hard.

“We’ve got some things to clean up. The third quarter was the difference. We made an adjustment on the high ball screen. And it’s nice to have a player like Cassius Winston. He impressed me the first day I met him. He gave our guys a lot of confidence on the floor.”

Winston is a 6-1 junior who’s rated as the state’s No. 3 player regardless of class by State Champs.

Last season he was instrumental in leading the Cubs to their first state (Class A) semifinal. This season there are a lot of new faces in U-D’s lineup, and it’s early, but this team could be something special.

Winston is already special. Izzo follows Winston like a shadow. Ditto for Michigan coach John Beilein. Vince Baldwin of Prep Spotlight said both coaches have made Winston their No. 1 priority for the class of 2016.

There was much buildup before game centering on Winston and Morgan Park senior guard Marcus Lovett. Lovett has been offered a scholarship by a number of top programs including Kansas. Lovett was held to 17 points, nine in the first three quarters.

Charlie Moore led Morgan Park with 26 points.

After Winston, U-d had balance as Obi Duru had 11 points and Gary Collins and Matt Sherarer each added 10.

“We wanted to find a feel for our game,” Winston said. “We came out in the second half and set out mind to playing defense. It felt good. We represented our state our there tonight. It was Detroit versus Chicago.

“A lot of people look at us and say we have a lot of offensive weapons. What we do is play defense.”

What U-D and Winston do is bring out the stars, too. Numerous college coaches were in attendance including Ray McCallum of Detroit and assistant coaches from many Mid-American Conference schools. Also in attendance was former Piston Rasheed Wallace, current European player and former Renaissance All-America Malik Hairston, and a number of college players including Juwan Howard, a former Detroit Pershing star now a Titan playing for McCallum.

All left knowing there’s another star on the rise in Winston.