FSU announces transfer signees Josh Nickelberry, Jamir Watkins

Leonard Hamilton emphatically stated that Florida State would land 3-4 players from the transfer portal. He delivered on part of that promise in recent week in landing Josh Nickelberry (La Salle) and Jamir Watkins (VCU), with the school confirming both additions on Wednesday.

Nickelberry (6-foot-4, 205 pounds) was named the Sixth Man of the Year in the Atlantic 10 as he averaged 10.9 and 2.7 rebounds while shooting .401 from beyond the 3-point arc during the 2022-23 season. He made a team-leading 79 3-point shots and shot a team-leading .803 from the free-throw line in earning Philadelphia Big 5 honors.

“Josh is a very fundamentally sound player who has proven himself to be an outstanding shooter during his collegiate career,” Hamilton said in a statement. “He is experienced, has played in a ton of high intensity games during his career, and is a great addition to our roster. The experience Josh has gained, and the style of basketball he has played throughout his career makes us a better team immediately.”

The fourth-year guard finished tied for fourth in the Atlantic 10 in 3-point field goals made (79), sixth in the conference in 3-pointers made per game (2.3), and seventh in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (.401).

Nickelberry is a native of Fayetteville, N.C., and will play his fifth collegiate season in 2022-23 after playing two seasons at Louisville (2020 and 2021) and two at La Salle (2022 and 2023). Coming out of Oak Hall (Va.) Academy, Nickelberry said FSU was one of his finalists. He announced his commitment last week but pledged to Hamilton when the coach visited him in Philadelphia a few weeks ago.

He enters his final collegiate season having played in 87 career games with 40 starts. Nickelberry will play as a graduate transfer at Florida State as he is set to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from La Salle in May. His cousin, Kevin Nickelberry, has been hired by FSU as an assistant coach.

Watkins (6-7, 201) helped lead VCU to the NCAA Tournament in March and to the NIT in 2022. He scored eight points and earned four rebounds in the Rams’ victory over ACC regular season co-champion Pitt (Nov. 17, 2022), scored 13 points in a win over Vanderbilt (Nov. 30, 2022) and totaled a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds at Memphis (Nov. 20, 2022).

“Jamir will play in his fourth season as a collegiate student-athlete beginning this fall,” Hamilton said in a statement. “He was highly recruited out of high school and played in 61 games while he was a VCU. Jamir is going to help us because he is an athletic wing, can shoot the basketball and wants to play defense. He averages more than one steal a game for his career and blocked 23 shots this past season.”

Watkins, who is from Trenton, N.J., was VCU’s fourth-leading scorer with his 9.5 points per game scoring average this past season. He made 36 3-point shots as a sophomore and made 58 long range shots in his two seasons at VCU.

FSU will reportedly host Georgetown guard Primo Spears on April 27.