East Lansing, MI – Former Michigan State point guard Cassius Winston officially became an NBA player when the Oklahoma City Thunder traded its pick to the Washington Wizards and selected him late in the second round at No. 53 overall.
Emotions were all over the place, and nerves ran high.
"You know, just worried a little bit, excited," Winston told reporters on Thursday. "You figure like 'eventually one of these gotta be mine,' you know what I'm saying? So, you're sitting there excited. A little bummed out; you felt like you could have gotten picked earlier, so a little bummed out — and then when you get picked, it's like all that just goes out the window. Once you see your name, it's just the feeling takes over, and you're like, 'Wow, I really just got drafted. Like that really happened. We really made that happen.'"
Winston may have been drafted later than expected, but as always, he approaches the game with confidence in himself and what he can bring to his new team.
"I trust myself; I trust my ability; I trust my work; I'll put my money on me. I got an opportunity, and that's really all I wanted. That was all I've been asking for the longest (time)," said Winston. "There was a point in time where I wouldn't even be in this situation that I'm in right now, so I'm grateful for the opportunity, and I trust myself to make that work."
Regardless, Winston met his goals, but not without challenges.
Along the way, he faced plenty of adversity, including the tragic passing of his younger brother, and at times being doubted as a player who could do much more than be an elite college basketball player.
Now that he's in the NBA, he won't waste any opportunities.
"We set a goal ... and we were gonna make it happen, and we went out there, and we made it happen against all types of odds. It would have been so easy for me to fail, and nobody would have blamed me," Winston said. "There would have been no excuse; everybody would have been like, 'That's probably what should have happened to him.' To be able to still be here, still standing, make that happen, get a chance to keep moving forward — that's a crazy feeling ... it's my family, I wanted everybody to feel that. I wasn't the only one that got drafted."
Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
Want the latest breaking MSU news delivered straight to your email for FREE? Sign up for the DAILY Spartan Nation newsletter when you CLICK THE MAGAZINE ICON at the top left of the page or the FOLLOW button back on the main page. Don't miss any of the latest up to the second updates on Michigan State Sports when you follow on Twitter @HondoCarpenter @McLainGrant1