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Should Cassius Winston have his jersey retired?

Hint: yes.

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Cassius Winston
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal, Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Cassius Winston is one of the all-time greats at Michigan State and it’s time to ask the question, should his jersey be retired?

Cassius Winston undoubtedly is one of the Michigan State basketball all-time greats. Both his team and individual accomplishments speak for themselves, but are they good enough for his jersey to hang in the rafters?

It takes a very talented and special player to earn that right at a storied program like Michigan State, but I think Cassius did more than enough to earn him that honor.

Individual accomplishments

Cassius has plenty of individual achievements that after combining them into one career show how great his career really was. He finished his career with 1,969 points and 890 assists. That puts him sixth all time for points scored and No. 1 in assists in MSU history. Cassius also was the 2019 Big Ten Player of the Year. He is the ninth Spartan to win that award, making Michigan State the school with the most Big Ten players of the year. Winston also was a two-time All-American both in 2019 and 2020.

But, in my opinion, his most impressive individual accomplishment is being the Big Ten all time leader in assists.

As I mentioned, Cassius ended his career with 890 assists which is a substantial lead over second place Mateen Cleaves who had 816. And just think, Michigan State could’ve had nine more games that Cassius could have added to his total. The Spartans could have played three games in the Big Ten Tournament then six in the NCAA Tournament if COVID-19 didn’t cancel both events.

Now there’s no guarantee how many more games he would’ve played, but he for sure would have become a 2,000 point scorer with over 900 assists.

Team accomplishments

During his four seasons at MSU, Cassius Winston led the Spartans to a 104-36 record. This includes a 56-20 record in Big Ten play as well.

The first major accomplishment Cassius led his teams to were three straight Big Ten championships. From 2017-2020, MSU was the best team in the conference and it honestly wasn’t even close. Cassius also was part of Tom Izzo’s most recent Final Four team in 2019. Who can forget that magical run that saw Kenny Goins hit the game winning three against one of the best Duke teams of all time.

Unfortunately, we were left with a massive “what if?” to end his career. COVID-19 ruined any chance of another March Madness run, and this one could’ve been special. I won’t say this team would have for sure won it all or made the Final Four again, but this team was clicking at just the right time and had as good of a chance as anyone. Cassius’ jersey being retired is a no-brainer if he makes another Final Four or wins it all.

I don’t think his jersey will be retired anytime soon if MSU decides to do so. MSU tends to wait awhile to retire jerseys, and I honestly love that they do that. The one thing holding Cassius back from his jersey being retired is that he never made it in the NBA. I am not sure how much NBA accomplishments play a role in this decision. But there’s no doubt Draymond Green’s NBA success played a role in his jersey hanging in the rafters.

Regardless, Cassius should go down as the third-greatest Spartan of all time, behind only Mateen and Magic Johnson. That fact alone makes me think his jersey should hang in the rafters forever.

Lead writer for Spartan Shadows since April 2023, writing over 450 articles. Michigan State basketball, football and recruiting expert. Class of 2019 graduate from Michigan State University specializing in Sports Management. Daily MSU runs a popular X page (@daily_msu) covering all things MSU Sports.

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