South Carolina guard PJ Dozier is in the midst of a strong sophomore season and that has him on the receiving end of more NBA buzz.
Dozier, the Gamecocks’ second-leading scorer, was slotted as a first-round pick in the latest NBADraft.net mock draft on Monday. The mock draft pegs him as the No. 22 pick, which it has assigned to the Utah Jazz.
Dozier was the most productive player on the floor, scoring a game-high 24 points, to go along with 7 rebounds and 5 assists. He was also 9 of 17 from the field and 2 for 5 from behind the 3-point line.
Thornwell’s absence has forced more responsibility on previously lesser-used freshmen like Maik Kotsar, Rakym Felder and Sedee Keita. It’s also forced sophomore PJ Dozier, one of the program’s most heralded recruits in recent memory, to make a full-fledged star turn.
While Dozier was one of the country’s most underrated guards while he was sharing the backcourt with Thornwell, he is in the process of evolving into a household name without him. The Columbia native has scored 20 or more points in all five of South Carolina’s games in the month of December, and he’s also in the midst of his best run of production when it comes to rebounding, assists and steals as well.
It was never about his game. It was about being allowed to play it.
P.J. Dozier’s freshman year was good in terms of what he did for his team. South Carolina tied a school record with 25 wins after a 15-0 start, and the freshman point guard enabled the Gamecocks to do a lot of things they hadn’t been able to do.
USC's PJ Dozier (15) makes a drive to the basket as Clemson's Shelton Mitchell (4) defends during the first half of their rival game. C. Rush firstname.lastname@example.org
USC sophomore P.J. Dozier scored a career-high 26, his fifth straight game of at least 20 points, while Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame had 15. Elijah Thomas, playing in just his second game for the Tigers after transferring from Texas A&M last year, had 12.
“It’s tough,” Dozier said. “But at the end of the day, we win as a team, we lose as a team. There were plays that happened that I know I messed up on, plays that I know my teammates messed up on. In a tough game like this, every possession counts.”
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The way things played out between South Carolina and Clemson on Wednesday night, it was fitting that the game would remain a one-score affair no matter the outcome of Avery Holmes’ two free throws.
As it went, Holmes made the first and missed the second, leaving Clemson with a two-point lead with less than 10 seconds to play and the ball in South Carolina’s hands.
Coach Frank Martin drew up the two options for the final play in a timeout prior to Holmes’ free throws, both looking to get the ball in P.J. Dozier’s hands. It worked out that way, but Dozier’s 3-pointer from the wing bounced off the rim and No. 22 South Carolina lost 62.60 to its rival.