On Saturday night, Zachary “Smoothie” Winston, the younger brother of Michigan State star guard Cassius Winston, was killed. The 19-year old Albion College student was hit by an Amtrak train at around 8:25 p.m. that night.
Obviously, no one would have blamed Cassius Winston, a preseason All-American, if he had taken some time away from the Spartans after this tragedy. Instead, he suited up the next day, and recorded a 17-point, 11-assist double-double in a blowout win over Binghamton.
Michigan State, currently ranked No. 3 in the AP Poll, is back in action tonight, with a big road test at the No. 12 Seton Hall Pirates.
Winston has made the trip to New Jersey, and is expected to play tonight.
MSU has added a “Smoothie” patch to its alternate road jerseys tonight, right above the Nike Swoosh logo for tonight’s big ranked matchup. It is a nice gesture to pay tribute to someone close to the program.
Tonight, we will wear patches on our jerseys in remembrance of Zachary “Smoothie” Winston, younger brother of Cassius Winston, who passed away this past Saturday. pic.twitter.com/9V2GNqbiyA
— Michigan State Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) November 14, 2019
On Tuesday, head coach Tom Izzo spoke about Zachary Winston’s tragic death after the team’s practice. From the Detroit Free Press:
“There’s a uniqueness to this situation, in that our players were close to his brother, too,” Izzo said after practice Tuesday. “And so it’s not just how you feel about one of your teammate’s brothers, it’s how you feel about your teammate’s brother who is also your friend and a guy you knew very well. And when people see things like that happen and when you’re young, it’s I think scary, shocking – I don’t know what words would be right.”
The Spartans and Pirates tip off from the Prudential Center at 8:30 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on FS1.