Michigan State’s Cassius Winston Plays Brilliantly One Day After His Brother’s Tragic Death

Cassius Winston

Michigan State’s Cassius Winston Plays Brilliantly One Day After His Brother’s Tragic Death

Zachary Winston was struck and killed by a passenger train in Michigan.

Published November 11, 2019

Written by Jarod Hector

Michigan State guard Cassius Winston played with a heavy heart on Sunday (November 10), a day after his younger brother Zachary died when he was struck by a train. 

Cassius, a preseason All-American, had 17 points and 11 assists in Michigan State’s 100-47 win over Binghamton. 

The emotion was palpable inside the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan. There was a moment of silence before the game, and when Cassius left the game at the 4:46 mark in the second half, he shared a hug with coach Tom Izzo and every player and staff member on the Michigan State bench.

Cassius’ younger brother Zachary was hit by a westbound Amtrak train in Albion, Michigan, shortly after 8:30 p.m. Saturday according to ESPN

Zachary Winston apparently stepped in front of the train as it approached a pedestrian crosswalk just past the Erie Street crossing.

Zachary, along with Khy (Cassius’ other younger brother), played for Albion College basketball team. Zach was a sophomore.

Following Michigan State’s game Cassius posted a heartfelt message about his brother on Instagram. 

View this post on Instagram

Ima put this on here cause I need you to read it, and I feel like this the best way for it to get to you. I love you bro, w everything I have in my entire body. I love you so much, if I could carry yo pain I would wear it on my shoulders just to see you happy and wouldn’t think twice. I understand it was to much, I understand I really do and yo story won’t end here. I can promise you that, the next time I run into someone in your situation ima save them, cause that’s wha you would want me to do. I wish it was a term that goes deeper then brother, cause that’s what’s you are to me, 1/3 of my heart. And I’m struggling because there is nothing that can replace that Smoothie. I need you, I miss you. But I’m so proud of you, bro you fought every demon w everything you had in you. You went to war w yourself every single day not knowing if you could win that battle. And you won time after time. You stood tall and you let your family love you, you gave me everything I asked for, just one day you didn’t have enough strength. And that’s ok man, that’s really ok, ppl can’t go through wha you went through, you are the strongest, wisest, kindest, most caring person. The best brother/ gang member I could ever ask for. And I wouldn’t replace you or change any single thing about you. Not one. I don’t like doing these cause I feel like they for show, but I need to you to read this Smoothie and I need you to know, that I love you and I care for you. And the only reason I can sit here and still stand is because I know you not in no more pain. The only reason I’m still standing. After that bro we really got beef, and when I see you again I’m beating yo ass. Cause it’s no way you got me out here trying to adjust to life w out you bro. This shit so deep bro we suppose to see all this out together. But we’ll have that convo the next time I see you Smoothie Bean. Rest up my baby and keep watching over us, save me a seat. And when it’s all said and done ima have so much to tell you. You gone already know but ima tell you anyway. Love you Gang member🖤 wish your story coulda had a diff ending, it’s ok tho enjoy it up there. Ima see you soon enough #LuvSmoothie🖤

A post shared by Cash🖤 (@cassiuswinston5) on

Izzo didn’t believe Cassius would want to play, given how sudden the tragic news was and how close he was to his brother. But he left the decision entirely up to Cassius. 

"I guess if I was to be honest, I expected him not to play, but everyone grieves a different way, and we left it 100 percent up to Cassius," Izzo said. "His brothers are the world to him. I've never seen a kid over my years that was as close with his brothers. Zachary grew up around the team so much. He grew close to all the guys."

Albion College President Mauri Ditzler said Zachary Winston was "deeply loved and will be deeply missed."

"As a community, our hearts are broken today as we share the news of the passing of one of our students, Zachary Winston," Ditzler wrote in a statement. "Zach was a finance major, a student in the Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management, and [a] member of the Albion College men's basketball team. Beyond that, he was an extremely charismatic young man with an infectious smile. Zach was a recognized leader who was well known across every facet of our campus. He was a fantastic student with a world of potential before him. He was deeply loved and will be deeply missed.

"Our hearts go out to his brothers, Khy, who is a freshman at Albion, and Cassius, who is a senior at Michigan State University, his parents and his extended family. We echo the family's request in asking everyone to respect their privacy at this time."

While nothing can bring Zachary back, for a brief respite on Sunday, Cassius was able to do what he loves and something he and his brothers enjoy as a family. 

Rest in peace, Zachary. Prayers up to Cassius and the entire Winston family.

(Photo: Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

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