Cassius Winston shares emotional message with Michigan State fans after death of his brother

Ryan YoungYahoo Sports Contributor
After leading the Spartans past Charleston Southern on Monday, <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaab/players/137368/" data-ylk="slk:Cassius Winston">Cassius Winston</a> stopped to thank Michigan State fans after his emotional week. (Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
After leading the Spartans past Charleston Southern on Monday, Cassius Winston stopped to thank Michigan State fans after his emotional week. (Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

After a rough few weeks, to say the least, Cassius Winston had nothing but appreciation for the Michigan State fans inside the Breslin Center.

Winston, who finished with 11 points and eight assists to lead No. 3 Michigan State to a 94-46 win against Charleston Southern on Monday night, addressed the crowd for the first time since the sudden death of his younger brother earlier this month.

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“I just wanted to say thank you all, thank all of Spartan nation,” Winston said. “It’s been a really tough time for me and my family, so just all the support, all the love, all the flowers, I really, really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart of me and my family. 

“There’s no better place than this, and all you guys showing how much you care … I really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. I lost a piece of my heart, but you guys keep me going.”

Winston’s brother, Zachary, died on November 9 after he stepped in front of an Amtrak train. He was 19. 

Just one day after Zachary’s death, however, Winston still suited up for the Spartans — and dominated. Winston finished with a 17-point, 11-assist double-double to lead Michigan State to a 100-47 win against Binghamton in an extremely emotional night in East Lansing.

Winston has been stellar since then, too, putting up 21 points to lead the Spartans past No. 13 Seton Hall on Thursday at the Prudential Center in New Jersey before Monday’s dominant win. He’s averaged 19.7 points and 6.8 assists so far this year.

After he finished addressing the crowd, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo rushed out to wrap Winston in a big hug at halfcourt before a standing ovation led Winston off the court.

“I just appreciate all the people,” Izzo said on the Big Ten Network. “I appreciated Seton Hall’s people for cheering for him when he got announced. This is one of those things that’s bigger than the game.”

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