Cassius Winston building on strong spring

There’s no doubt that Cassius Winston is one of the very best guards in his class in the state of Michigan. But during Michigan’s College Practice Camp last weekend, he proved it with his play.

Winston was stellar during the morning session, shooting the ball extremely well and setting up his teammates during the five-on-five scrimmages. The Detroit native has a court awareness and savvy that gives him a leg up against other competitors his age.

For his part, Winston refused to play up his camp exploits.

“I think I did a pretty good job,” Winston said during a phone interview on Friday. “I didn’t play my best every game, but overall I did a pretty good job.”

For Winston, what stood out about the camp was the environment cultivated by Michigan’s coaching staff.

“I just liked the environment,” Winston said. “The coaching staff was happy and excited the whole time, the players played hard at all times.”

The coaching staff is undoubtedly aware of the way Winston has burst onto the recruiting scene over the past year. The talented point guard led his high school team, University of Detroit Jesuit, to its first league title in 21 years this winter.

All of his accomplishments this high school season have led to increased attention. Winston already holds offers from Iowa State, Colorado and Massachusetts, and is being recruited by the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Xavier, Baylor and Georgetown.

Winston has built on his high school success with great play on the AAU circuit this summer, most recently at the Nike Elite 100 camp in St. Louis. ESPN named Winston one of the best point guards at the event:

Winston has a shifty, old-school feel to his game. Winston is a good shooter and scorer and takes his game to another level in clutch situations. Winston is one of 2016’s best prospects at the point guard position.

“Actually, I’m doing better than I expected,” Winston said. “I’ve been in a lot of competition but I held my own against a lot of top players. I think I’ve shown that I can compete with the best.”

Being from the area, Winston is familiar with Michigan and has made, by his own estimation, three trips to Ann Arbor this year alone. However, he said he was impressed during camp by Michigan’s facilities.

He also appreciates Michigan’s coaching staff and said they were giving him pointers throughout the drills portion of camp.

“I talked to coach Beilein and I talked to coach Bacari,” Winston said. “They were basically just giving me tip and pointers and stuff that will make me a better player and make better decisions, stuff like that.

“I love Michigan’s coaching staff. Everybody is energized, excited and really good at what they do.”

For now, Winston will continue to work hard at his game. He said for the moment he’s focused on improving his quickness and strength, as well as his outside shooting — though it should be noted his outside shooting was remarkably good during camp.

While it’s still very early in Winston’s recruitment, Michigan appears to hold a prominent place among the schools vying for his services at this juncture.

“I just like the environment. They have huge crowds, and they’re in a college town so everyone comes to support,” Winston said. “I like the coaching staff, they’re energized and love what they do and they support the players. I like the players too.”

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