Cassius Winston Drops Michigan Comment Count

Ace September 9th, 2015 at 12:25 PM

Michigan's recruitment of 2016 four-star MI PG Cassius Winston appears to be over after a few recent, surprising developments. News came out earlier this week that Winston planned to push his official visit, originally set for September 19th, back a week; then a report from MLive's Brendan Quinn threw the entire visit into doubt. Winston confirmed this morning that he's no longer considering Michigan:

I'll have more on this in tomorrow's recruiting roundup as the fallout becomes more clear. It sounds like Michigan's staff got uneasy when Winston tried to push back his visit; they need a point guard in this class and couldn't afford to wait on Winston and then miss.

Top targets going forward should be New Jersey four-star Bryce Aiken and Wisconsin three-star Te'Jon Lucas. Lavell Jordan is already in Milwaukee watching Lucas today.



September 9th, 2015 at 12:29 PM ^

Sam Webb and Brian Snow are both heavily implying that something is happening in the background and Michigan will be just fine.  I'm not sure if that means we have another guy locked up already or what, but there is definitely a "just relax" kind of vibe coming from those guys.  Take it FWIW.


September 9th, 2015 at 12:51 PM ^

But JB and staff DO.

And I also think Aiken looks like a fantastic prospect for our system. He has lots of room to learn about the game, but his skills (shoot-dribble pass) are pretty incredible—Curry-esque, even. And he is still underrated due to the fact that he hit a late growth spurt to get from 5'-8" to 6'-0" (might still be slightly exagerated). He's also at the Patrick School so he's got a solid pedigree as far as HS coaching and competition goes.


September 9th, 2015 at 1:06 PM ^

Don't know if that's sarcastic, but expect Lucas to pick up more offers than he currently has. For the stargazers, he'll get a bump when they do the next rounds of updates. Also, Winston is what he is at this point. He's very good, but he's not elite athletically. Great court vision, good decision maker, but he's got weird and low form on his jumper and will have a hard time beating quick defenders off the dribble. I just don't think he has a ton of room for improvement. That's not necessarily a bad thing since he's already really good, but when your goal is Final Fours it may not cut it.


September 9th, 2015 at 12:30 PM ^

This sounds more like a breakup than a "drop" by Winston.  Michigan wasn't amenable to his terms/timeline, and he wasn't willing to keep them in the running on M's terms/timeline.

Coach Jordan was on my flight to Chicago last night.  He's clearly out on the recruiting trail.


September 9th, 2015 at 12:32 PM ^

Michigan can't just offer the other guys while also letting Winston follow the timeline he wants to follow.  Dropping him (or fighting the timeline) doesn't make much sense unless you have another guy locked up.


September 9th, 2015 at 12:43 PM ^

They think an offer to one of the other guys will lead to an on-the-spot commitment. 

But I am frustrated - not with anyone in particular - that a recruitment that's gone on so long apparently hinges on the kid wanting to attend homecoming.  How was that not worked out by the parties beforehand?  It feels a little like canceling a wedding because it turns out the groom told his cousin he'd help him build a shed that weekend.


September 9th, 2015 at 1:02 PM ^

Let it play out that way.  Don't say (effectively) "we don't have room for you" before you don't have room.

The narratives here don't make a lot of sense.  It seems like Michigan is getting ancy and told Winston to drop or 'get off the pot' and he took issue with that.  Agree with you that doing this NOW, after all this time has passed, seems reactionary.  Why not just say, "alright, well we love you but we are going to offer other guys in the meantime".

In other words it's one thing to tell a guy "Battle took your spot" and another to say "you want to move your visit back? - C YA".


September 9th, 2015 at 1:05 PM ^

I have to believe there is more going on than homecoming.  On both sides, if this relationship was going well they'd have made it work.  But it kinda feels like UM could tell Winston wasn't leaning toward them, and Winston didn't feel like he'd wind up at UM, so they have a split that would have happened somewhere further down the road.



September 9th, 2015 at 2:54 PM ^

that you pursue a fine player for several years and he jerks you around a little. Then several great players who are strongly interested suddenly become available. Are you dumb to take the best player/person combo just because you invested two years in the other guy? Hardly.


September 9th, 2015 at 12:45 PM ^

of scholarships.  We lose Levert and have one open spot.  That leaves 2.  One for Watson and one for point-guard TBD.  Correct me if I am wrong, but barring unforeseen attrition we have this spot for a point guard and no other spots. (No, Walton is not going pro.  Irvin, better shot than Walton but doubtful).  I don't think they want to offer 2 because it kind of puts the kids in an either-or scenario where they know their commitment is contingent on the others..... non-commitment?


September 9th, 2015 at 12:59 PM ^

Think it is more down to the visit schedule and not being willing to push off the other targets based on Winston's request when it is FAR from clear Michigan is going to win this particular battle.  

It seemed to come down to this, accomodate Winston's request and keep the odds of getting him 50/50 at best while leaving other options you maybe feel you're in a  stronger position with feeling jerked around and weakened.  Or you tell Winston that you want to be fair to other recruits, probably risk your position with him, but leave yourself still in good standing with the other guys on your board and keep them feeling that you're giving them a straight deal.  

I would be surprised if the coaches thought this would mean Cassius would drop them entirely, but given his reaction it seems likely to me that the coaches made the right call in not risking their relationships with the other point guard targets as this makes me think Michigan's shot before this happened was less than 50/50 anyway.


September 9th, 2015 at 1:10 PM ^

Let the kid change his schedule and offer the other kids. You don't have to drop Winston just because you don't like his timeline.  Offer the other kids.  IF they commit, you can drop Winston then.  Right now it's like putting up a 'no vacancy' sign because you typically get people calling in later in the evening. 

Maybe in the end it's functionally the same thing (telling winston no now, rather than waiting for the 'other' commitment), but it seems like a weird way to handle it.  Maybe they pushed Winston and he didn't like that.  But again, the Michigan staff KNEW it had to wait on Winston.  If they weren't going to wait, why do so up until a few weeks before the official.

Obviously, we don't know the whole story and these coaches know more than we do about recruiting, but between this and Langford their judgment seems up for some questioning.

True Blue Grit

September 9th, 2015 at 1:28 PM ^

the judgment of the coaches.  I find it unlikely that the coaches shut the door on Winston just because he wanted to delay his visit or wait until much later to decide on a school.  However, I CAN see the coaches telling him, "hey, we have this other guy who is close to committing but we'd like you to have the spot if you can commit by X date".  At that point, Winston might have decided he can't decide that soon and dropped us from the list.   Who knows?  That's only one scenario.  I think the Michigan coaches have realized they need to really work even harder to get a quality point guard and they can't risk being left standing when the music stops. 


September 9th, 2015 at 2:18 PM ^

Still think it came more down to, "We don't want these other guys on our board to feel jerked around and these plans have been in place for a long time, while you are our top target it's not fair to either us or these other players to have to switch everything around at the last minute."  A position I don't find unreasonable.

They could have also told him that if he was going to reschedule he was going to have to reschedule until after other PG's had visited and if those players committed during the visit then they were going to take those other players.  Also a position I don't find unreasonable.

The fact that this caused Cassius to drop UM entirely likely means he wasn't coming anyway and I have a feeling Michigan's staff was starting to figure that out.  

I'm not entirely sure how the conflict with Homecoming came up now and it feels like that could have been better managed from both sides.

It's not like this is all on the coaches and I don't think them acting to make sure they maintained viable point guard options other than Cassius is such a bad thing.


September 9th, 2015 at 3:44 PM ^

But probably unrealistic.  The reality is you have to cater and coddle recruits a bit to land them.  Beilein is already principled enough in not offering guys who won't visit, but that makes some sense.  I think there's a point where you can take it to far.

All a moot point now as it seems it wasn't about being "jerked around" so much as M getting tired of waiting. It's not clear the visit schedule even played a role in this at all anymore. I'm sure they have Cassius a chance to commit. He said no, wants to wait, and that was that. 


September 10th, 2015 at 7:49 AM ^

Ok, clearly this has all played out just as the "Sam says..." people said it would. I'm getting to these threads rather after the fact, and have no idea if you'll circle back here to check on responses to your many posts about Winston, Lan...
I'm only bothering to reply so many hours later because I feel your analogy got it exactly backwards:
Keeping up the pretext that you may get Winston to fill your crucial PG spot at some later (maybe much later?) time and not accepting the immediate commitment of a Top 100 PG? THAT would be like putting up the No Vacancy sign in case someone calls later. Clearly we can see now Winston was told they're filling that spot TODAY - with you or without you. He then chose to drop Michigan, not the other way.
You didn't have the benefit of hindsight I have now clearly when you posted that, but still I think your logic was all wrong, and you were impatient (aren't we all when it comes to recruiting?!)
Not Ronnie Kaye level impatient, mind you, but still... TRUST is the word us Kool-aid drinkers always throw out there about JB & JH, to the great annoyance of the impatient ;-)


September 9th, 2015 at 12:32 PM ^

Following basketball recruiting these days is slightly depressing. Beilein always does more with less but watching him do more with more ala 2013 was so much fun and something Coach B deserves. He's such a great coach and a great man and I can't understand for the life of me why we are having so much trouble closing on our top targets the past few years. Michigan will get a great player, no doubt, but handing the kid over to Izzo after spending 4 years recruiting him is a tough pill to swallow. 

True Blue Grit

September 9th, 2015 at 1:34 PM ^

But his challenge is he's too nice and plays things straight in recruiting, like he should.   College basketball recruiting is a slimy business filled with coaches who will tell kids what they want to hear rather than the truth.  And of course there's the negative recruiting, which again, Beilein will not lower himself to do.  There are many positives to having JB as our coach, but getting 5 star players will probably not be one of them. 

Everyone Murders

September 9th, 2015 at 12:35 PM ^

That's unpossible!

(Sorry to hear he's no longer a prospect, but like most others here, I trust Beilein to find great players who want to represent Michigan.  Good luck to Winston - unless he chooses MSU.  Then only mostly good luck to him.)


September 9th, 2015 at 12:43 PM ^

Love Coach B but I am underwhelmed when it comes to recruiting.  Something's just missing there.  

Yes he's a magician at molding talent, but this is Michigan.  He should be able to recruit and mold 4 star talent across the board, not 3 star talent.

Blah blah trust Coach B over recruiting rankings aside, watching us against teams like MSU or Ohio State there's always a sizeable athleticism edge in their favor.

Love Coach B and he's an elite coach, and want him to stay forever, but as a recruiter at anything other than mining 3 star talent, I'll call him pedestrian.

/flame suit on

Stringer Bell

September 9th, 2015 at 12:45 PM ^

Now that football is on the rise, it seems like basketball is on a steep decline.  It'd be nice to have both be great programs at the same time, but I guess we can't haz nice things.


September 9th, 2015 at 12:56 PM ^

Basketball will be fine.  Beilein has done fine with player development and identifying solid players.  And it's not like UM is going to be scraping the barrel; the available players they are going after are all highly-enough regarded, and the team has a fair bit of talent coming back.  Winston is a tough loss, but UM should be fine.  


September 9th, 2015 at 1:21 PM ^

Yes and no.  I'm high on Wagner - I think he can be a dynamic scorer in college and a matchup nightmare for a lot of teams.  And Dawkins, Doyle, and MAAR have all shown enough to expect consistent performance and improvements going forward.  I think fans were a bit spoiled by the NCG run, as Beilein's teams have always been a little weaker on defense than you'd like and, sadly, than can bite you quickly if you have an off night offensively, but I don't see a team bereft of talent going forward.  And again, it just takes 1-2 hits for a team to be on top again.


September 9th, 2015 at 1:07 PM ^

Basketball is not on a "steep decline". Good lord. Last year ----> injuries. Before that ----> two Elite Eights, one Final Four / National Championship Game, two Big Ten titles. 

If in three years when Beilein's recruits from last year and the next two don't pan out and they struggle, then you can bring up this "steep decline" BS. Until then, that's all it is. 

Stringer Bell

September 9th, 2015 at 1:35 PM ^

I'm tired of the injuries excuse.  MSU suffered bad injuries 2 years ago and still got a 4 seed and made it to the elite 8.  Our healthy team last year lost back to back games to NJIT and Eastern, got run off the floor at Zona, lost to a decent SMU team at home, and struggled mightily with teams like Purdue and Ohio State.  I'm skeptical that last year's team would've made the tournament if they had remained healthy.  Now, if they had successfully recruited guys like Booker or Blackmon, maybe it's a different story.  But our recruiting has taken a hit, and it sure showed on the court last year.


September 9th, 2015 at 2:01 PM ^

It's not an excuse, it's a fact. I may be misremembering but I don't think any of MSU's injuries two years ago were of the season-ending variety. When you lose your starting point guard and leading scorer for the season, I think that effects what happened on the court last season more than any so called deficiencies in recruiting. You're trippin'. 


September 9th, 2015 at 12:47 PM ^

The writing was on the wall for a bit with Winston.  Wish him luck, but I'm kind of happy the staff is moving on even if it means missing out on a good talent.  You never consistently win these protracted recruiting battles, and UM should be able to find a good PG for 2016 now.