TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Guards Robbie Berwick and Dayshawn Watkins along with forwards Cinmeon Bowers and Norbertas Giga have signed National Letters of Intent to play basketball at Florida State for two-time ACC Coach of the Year Leonard Hamilton and the Seminoles. The four players will bolster Florida State’s roster and is another strong recruiting class for the Seminoles who are the third winningest program in the ACC in the last eight seasons since the start of the 2005-06 season.
“I am very pleased to add all four of these players to our roster,” said Hamilton. “My staff did a tremendous job of identifying these talented players and cultivating relationships with these players– all of whom will help us immediately. We have added a great combination of players who will help us as we continue to compete to hold our place among the top teams in the incredibly talented ACC. We have to continue to recruit well because this league is only going to get better and we have to continue to improve our team on an annual basis.”
Bowers (Milwaukee, Wisc./Chipola Junior College) was the first commitment of the Seminoles’ class of 2014. The 6-7 solidly built forward is currently playing his second season at Chipola Junior College in Florida and is considered to be the top junior college player in the nation this year. Bowers is averaging 12.6 points and a team-leading 8.4 rebounds in the first seven games of the 2013-14 season. He scored 29 points and pulled down 15 rebounds in Chipola’s victory over Georgia Perimeter College on November 19. Bowers was named to the Academic Dean’s List at Chipola following the spring 2013 semester.
As a senior at Rufus King High School in Milwaukee, he earned North Shore Conference honors and led the Knights to the state championship playoffs as a senior. He is characterized as extremely strong and aggressive with a great deal of skill around the rim. In addition to his skill around the rim, he has the ability to step away from the basket and knock down jump shots. A major difference maker, Bowers has the ability to control the glass on both ends of the court.
“Cinmeon is going to bring an unbelievable motor and toughness to the Florida State program,” said Chipola head coach Pat Clark. “He’s an elite rebounder who is able to stretch the defense on the offensive end of the court. He generally plays on the low block but he can excel on the perimeter. He’s been a tremendous joy to coach in these last two years; he’s very coachable, respectful and brings everything he has to the court every day.”
Bowers chose Florida State over defending national champion Louisville and Memphis.
“Words can’t explain how excited I am to be a Seminole and to have the opportunity to play for Coach Hamilton and his staff,” said Bowers. “I hope to be able to make an impact on the team and with my new teammates right away. I want to become a better defensive player under Coach Hamilton. I believe the coaching staff at Florida State is going to make me a better player and I am very excited about what they will teach me. I can’t wait to play in the ACC next season – it’s going to be great and I am really looking forward to playing in the best league in the nation.”
Berwick (Atascadero, Calif./Atascadero High School), who averaged 18.0 points, 7.0 assists and five rebounds as a junior, is an elite 6-4 guard who also stars as the quarterback for his high school team. He was named as the Tribune News (San Luis Obispo, Cal.) Player of the Year in San Luis Obispo County after leading Atascadero to a share of the PAC 7 conference title.
Berwick led Atascadero to an 8-2 record on the football field and the PAC 7 regular season championship this fall. He established school records for passing touchdowns, passing yards and completions in leading the Greyhounds to the CIF playoff during his senior season. Berwick flourished as a two-sport star and is expected to reach a higher levels on the basketball court as he concentrates on playing basketball at Florida State for Hamilton and the Seminoles.
“Robbie has a really high basketball IQ which will serve him well because in the ACC guys have to be an extension of the coach,” said his AAU Coach Mike Moore. “He’s a quarterback – a guy who can run the show by getting a team into its offense. He certainly makes all of his teammates better players because he is such a great facilitator and if you need him to score he can do that, too. He’s just really good when it comes down to understanding the game and he’s a quality kid. Robbie has a great personality and has always performed well academically.
Berwick selected Florida State over Stanford, Colorado State, Texas-El Paso and Fresno State.
“I am very excited; I am so thankful to have this opportunity and I want to make the best of my career as a Seminole,” said Berwick. I am going to work very hard, and I can't wait to be coached by the great coaching staff at Florida State.”
Giga (Kedainiai, Lithuania/St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) averaged 5.6 points and 4.7 rebounds last year for the Lithuanian U17 team in the World Championship. He also played for Lithuania in the U18 World Championships in 2013. Giga is another in the Seminoles’ long line of stretch forwards who can shoot extremely well from the outside and play effectively under the basket.
Giga is a very versatile player who brings a lot to the table,” said St. Benedict’s head coach Mark Taylor. “He is a true European player who can handle the ball and hit the three if needed. He will need to get a little stronger to be able to make an immediate impact in the ACC, but playing at St. Benedict’s this year will give him that opportunity to get better and better every day and allow him to step in and not be intimidated with anything he will face at Florida State. We are really happy for him and I only see a great deal of success in his future on and off the court.
“The opportunities Florida State offered, not only in basketball, made the decision the best one for me to make,” said Giga. “I got along really well with the coaches and the school will give me the ability to earn a great education. I really believe coming to St. Benedict’s will definitely prepare me for what’s ahead at Florida State.”
Watkins (North Little Rock, Ark./Holmes County Community College) will enroll at Florida State after one season at Holmes C.C. as a very highly touted 6-0 guard. He was a two-time All-State selection in the state of Arkansas after averaging 16.0 points and 5.0 assists per game as a senior at North Little Rock High School and earned All-State honors as a junior at North Pulaski High School. Watkins is one of the top 15 junior college players in the country this season.
Watkins was also the point guard for the Arkansas Wings who won the AAU National Championship in 2012 in Orlando, Fla. He originally signed with UAB out of high school but made the decision to attend Holmes for one season before playing at the Division I level.
“Dayshawn is a player that every coach wants on their roster,” said Holmes C.C. head coach John Flannagan. “He is quick, he defends, he guards the ball and gets all of his teammates involved in every possession. He is a person of great character who is a tremendous leader both on and off the court. He is focused on his getting his education and playing basketball – in that order. He is a true coach on the floor.”
“I’m beyond excited; it’s a blessing and a great opportunity that God has given me,” said Watkins. “I am going to take advantage of playing and learning from Coach Hamilton and his staff. Florida State competes at such a high level and playing in the ACC is a blessing. Coach Hamilton says he loves my defensive intensity, my ability to score and my desire to be a leader. My skill set will allow me to fit with the players in the program and allow me to help run the team.”