Michigan State’s basketball team had two big question marks surrounding the roster for next season, and now those two questions have been answered.
Nick Ward will declare for the NBA Draft, hire an agent, and end his MSU career per a release from the school.
The junior forward had an up-and-down final season in East Lansing, suffering a hand injury late in the regular season. He was able to return for the post-season, but didn’t ever quite regain the form that he had earlier in the year.
Ward leaves Michigan State with 1,359 points and 681 rebounds. He is also second all-time in blocked shots in school history.
The good news for MSU fans is that the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Cassius Winston, will be returning for his senior season.
Here’s the statement from Cassius Winston pic.twitter.com/nBJbb7G2hK— Matt Charboneau (@mattcharboneau) April 19, 2019
Winston’s return makes the Spartans a top-five pre-season team and a legitimate national title contender next year. Winston himself will likely be the pre-season conference Player of the Year and a pre-season national Player of the Year candidate.
This also means that several Michigan State records could be primed to fall at the hands of Winston next year, who is second on the MSU all-time assists list already, trailing Mateen Cleaves by just 101 assists. Cleaves also holds the all-time Big Ten career mark.
Winston also has a shot to become the fifth player in school history to score 2,000 points, needing 589 points to reach that mark.
The question now remains whether MSU will look to a possible graduate transfer to round out their roster as they hunt for another national title next year, or ride with the group they currently have.