Ready to ball

Atascadero's Robbie Berwick ready to put injuries behind him

COLORADO — Robbie Berwick graduated from Atascadero in 2014 and left this small town as one of the most decorated athletes in school history.

Berwick was on the boys varsity basketball team for all four years he was in high school and led the team in scoring every year except his first.

When he left Atascadero, he also held several football records such as passing yards in a season and led the Hounds to their highest scoring offense since 2005, and before that 1995, which was a CIF Southern Section Championship season.

The Greyhounds star only lost seven league games over his four years playing basketball, losing fewer games each year until his senior year when the Hounds went undefeated in league. As a sophomore, he averaged 17.5 points per game (PPG) and four assists per game (APG) as he helped lead the Greyhounds to an 18-8 overall record and 7-5 league mark. In his junior year, he averaged 17.5 PPG and 6.2 APG while leading the Hounds three rounds deep into the CIF playoffs before eventually losing to Leuzinger High School in a game where he scored 31 points.

The 6’4” sharpshooter and distributor saved his best for his senior campaign when he averaged 19.3 PPG and 4.6 APG, earning Player of the Year honors in the PAC 7 and leading Atascadero to a 24-3 record overall and undefeated 12-0 in league.

On a chilly November afternoon in 2013, in the Ewing Gymnasium surrounded by family, friends and even a few fans, Berwick declared he would play basketball at Florida State University in the ACC.

At the time of his departure, Berwick was the first local athlete since Derrick Jasper, now coach of the Paso Robles High School Bearcats basketball team, to leave for a major basketball program from the Central Coast.

He was the biggest fish in one of the smallest ponds and in a matter of weeks he was transplanted into a pond the size of the Pacific Ocean. The Florida State Seminoles are known for their athletes and for the first time in a while Berwick wasn’t the best athlete in the gym and it didn’t help that he was bitten by the injury bug right off the bat.

“I hit the injury path, and boom, I got down on myself,” Berwick said. “The injuries, of course, hurt, and I was playing injured my whole freshman year and then my redshirt year, I was still practicing injured and it was some pretty tough times because I was really down during those times, injuries take a lot out of you.”

Berwick redshirted his sophomore season at Florida State in order to get healthy but was still practicing with the team. During his time in Tallahassee, he went through a back surgery and a hernia surgery and as he physically began to fall apart he struggled to stay positive.

“My dad came out to see me, and my mom, and they saw all my medical records,” he said. “Especially with me being as injured as I was and not sitting out my first year there and playing on it. My dad told me it is probably best that we get out of here.”

Before Berwick signed with Florida State he had narrowed his schools down to only four with the other three being Fresno State, Colorado State, Texas-El Paso.

Once he decided to leave Florida State it was Colorado State’s head coach Larry Eustachy that recruited the former Greyhound the hardest and that is where he decided to launch his fresh start. However, due to transfer rules in the NCAA, he was forced to sit out a year.

If the name Eustachy sounds familiar, it is because he suddenly resigned in February following an internal investigation, led by the school’s athletic director, that the university dubbed a “climate assessment” of his conduct and treatment of players according to the Denver Post.

“We kind of bumped heads a little,” Berwick said in a chuckle.

Finally, after being robbed of all his opportunities since leaving Atascadero, Berwick is healthy, confident, and working harder than ever to show that he can still ball with the best in the country.

“To be honest with you this is probably the healthiest I have been since high school,” he said. “I put more time into it this summer than I have in any memory. I decided that if I am going to fail at all I am going to fail working my butt off, outworking everybody, and getting my health right, lifting weights, getting my body stronger, getting my injuries stronger and getting my game right.”

On paper, Berwick is going to be a redshirt senior this year, but will apply to the NCAA to get back one of the years that he sat out which he says, “I’ve got a good chance to get that.”

Even though the spotlight kept moving forward, the loving gaze of his family and his community never did.

“It was so cool to have so much support,” Berwick proclaimed. “Even from people in my hometown that would always call me and tell me to keep pushing and never give up.”

The 22-year-old is now the healthiest both physically and mentally that he has ever been while in college, and his trademark confidence is starting to come rushing back.

“I am feeling great now and determined,” he said. “To say the least I am definitely confident in what I can do in helping this program out.”

It is unclear if Berwick will be a starter come Nov. 3 when the Rams open up their season against CSU-Pueblo, but one thing that is clear is that he will be ready to play. Colorado State will play three games in California this year, one at Long Beach State on Dec. 22, one at Fresno State on Jan. 5, and the final one at San Jose State on Feb. 20.

Additionally, several of the Rams’ games will be televised nationally this year on networks like CBS and ESPN2.

Berwick is all set to graduate this semester with a degree in Liberal Arts and a minor in Media Studies.


© 2019-Atascadero News

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