Zachary Winston, the brother of Michigan State player Cassius Winston, is dead after being struck by an Amtrak train. Zachary was 19 years old. He had a promising basketball career at Albion College, and he was one of three Winston brothers who play college basketball.
Zachary was a sophomore forward on the Albion College men’s basketball team, a team that the youngest brother, Khy, also plays for as a freshman. According to MLive, authorities believe that Winston stepped in front of the train intentionally.
The tragedy occurred at the Erie Street crossing in Albion around 8:30 p.m. on November 9, 2019, MLive reported. In a statement, Albion College President Mauri A. Ditzler wrote that, “Last night, our family lost a student. And as families do in difficult times, we must come together to mourn and to embrace one another. We have been in close contact with the student’s family and are doing everything we can to support them. In accordance with the family’s wishes, we are not sharing a name or details at this time. Please keep the family close in your heart. We plan to offer grief counseling to our community and will be sharing details later.” Winston’s name was later widely reported in Michigan news media, however.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Three Winston Brothers Were Recently at an Exhibition Game Together & Zachary Was Remembered as a ‘Leader of His Peers’
WOODTV anchor Casey Jones wrote on Twitter that the “3 Winston brothers were together two weeks ago for an exhibition basketball game between @MSU_Basketball and @albioncollege.”
At the time of the exhibition game, Cassius joked of his brothers, “I kind of want to embarrass them, but I hope it’s all out of fun.” Cassius also spoke with pride about his brothers and said he wanted to set a good example for them, according to 247Sports.
WLNS-TV reported that the tragic death occurred about 20 miles from the Jackson, Michigan station and passengers were on the Amtrak train at the time.
People Filled Social Media With Tributes to Zachary
People filled social media with tributes. “Thinking of the Albion College community today. Prayers sent for family, teammates, and friends,” wrote one. “Absolutely heartbreaking. I had limited interactions with Zachary but he was certainly an amazing young man and leader of his peers. Thoughts go out to the Winston and Albion Families,” wrote another.
“would give everything away to just see you smile one more time ? rest easy Z smoothie until I see you again ? #bestbuddy,” wrote Elijah Collins, UD Jesuit classmate and MSU running back.
The U of D Jesuit HS Esports wrote on Twitter, “We want to extend our condolences to the Winston family after the passing of Zachary Winston. We grieve with you in this tremendously difficult time and pray for you ❤️.” Zachary graduated from that high school.
Zachary Considered Albion a ‘Second Home’ & Was a Finance Major
His Albion College biography says that Zachary Winston “chose Albion because it felt like a second home ever since his first campus visit.”
The bio says that he listed “like to talk and learn about others and their everyday lives” as an interest off the basketball court and was a “finance major who is concentrating in Albion’s Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management.”
The page says his parents are named Reg and Wendi Winston and noted that his “older brother, Cassius, is the starting point guard at Michigan State and was an All-American and the Big Ten Player of the Year last season.”
Zachary Was a Substitute in 28 Games for Albion College
For the 2018-19 season, Zachary was a “substitute in all 28 games, averaging nearly 14 minutes per game…Dished out a season-high six assists in 18 minutes on the court in Albion’s home loss to Trine…” the Albion biography says.
“Produced a nine points in 17 minutes off the bench in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament championship game victory over Trine…Stuffed the box score with nine points, five rebounds and three assists in the NCAA Division III Championship first round game vs. Loras, Iowa.”
Before college, he was “a three-year varsity basketball player at University of Detroit Jesuit (coached by Pat Donnelly) who was a member of three district and regional champion and one state champion squads…Achieved all-league and all-city distinction…Inducted into the National Honor Society,” says the Albion biography.