PJ Dozier’s USC Decision Paying off at Final Four

By Sports Department (www.abccolumbia.com) – Source Article

Spring Valley alum PJ Dozier had plenty of options on where to play his college ball as an All-American in high school. But Columbia’s own chose to stay home at Carolina and has played a vital role in bringing the Gamecocks to the Final Four.

ABC Columbia Sports Director Mike Gillespie spoke with Dozier at University of Phoenix Stadium Thursday to discuss the decisions that lead him to USC and the first day for his team at the Final Four.

Dozier: ‘We’re a great team’ not a Cinderella

The Gamecocks are a Cinderella story to most, but PJ Dozier simply doesn’t see it that way.

By John Del Bianco – Source Article

Glendale, Az – As a No. 7 seed, South Carolina is certainly viewed as the Cinderella of the Final Four and in many eyes, the team is on one of the most improbable runs in recent NCAA Tournament history. Gamecocks guard PJ Dozier simply doesn’t see it that way.

“We consider ourselves a great team,” Dozier said. “We’re amongst the greatest teams here at the Final Four and we know anyone playing at this time of year, they’ve earned the right to be called a great team. We’re just glad we have the opportunity to have our name up there with them.”

Katie Dugan, 247Sports

After a Tournament-opening win over No. 10 seed Marquette to notch the program’s first Big Dance win since 1973, the Gamecocks rattled off wins against No. 2 seed Duke, No. 3 seed Baylor, and No. 4 seed Florida, which beat No. 8 seed Wisconsin that beat No. 1 overall seed and defending national champion Villanova.

The story can write itself in terms of the Gamecocks worthy of wearing the glass slipper. It’s a story they’re playing out on the court, but one Dozier said is the media’s job to write.

“That’s y’all guys’ job, to make it sound really good and we appreciate it,” Dozier said. “We leave it to y’all and focus on the next game at hand.”

Continue reading “Dozier: ‘We’re a great team’ not a Cinderella”

Dozier playing his best at the right time

P.J. Dozier discusses importance of his family and being able to share Final Four experience with them.lbezjak@thestate.com

BY DAVID CLONINGER – dcloninger@thestate.com – Source Article

GLENDALE, ARIZ. – He could barely walk normally when he woke up that morning and was nixed for the game at Kentucky that night. P.J. Dozier’s back felt like somebody shoved a porcupine in it.

He no longer has the back spasms, but his jump shot hasn’t returned. It took him a while to grasp it, but Dozier has, and is a big reason why South Carolina is in the Final Four.

South Carolina guard PJ Dozier (15) scores on a floater in the NCAA Tournament game against Florida. Gerry Melendez gmelendez@thestate.com

South Carolina guard PJ Dozier (15) scores on a floater in the NCAA Tournament game against Florida. South Carolina guard PJ Dozier (15) scores on a floater in the NCAA Tournament game against Florida. Gerry Melendez gmelendez@thestate.com “Yeah, just the coaching staff continues to tell me to stay aggressive, attack the rim,” Dozier said. “Being 6-6, 6-7, that’s what you have to do. You have to put pressure on the rim, and I feel like that’s when I play my best basketball.”

Not much doubt about that.

Dozier’s aggressive approach has given the Gamecocks a multifaceted offense, one where teams can’t sell out anymore to double-team Sindarius Thornwell. Dozier can use that windmill frame of his to score from either side, and when defenders do match up with him, he keeps the ball extended until he can flip it off the glass for two, sometimes with an and-1 free throw coming.

The sophomore scored 21 against Marquette, 11 against Duke, 12 against Baylor and 17 against Florida. While Thornwell has no doubt been the guy who got the Gamecocks here, Dozier’s contributions can’t be ignored.

“We signed up to be in this position. To be amongst the great teams, as y’all would call them,” Dozier said. “So we know we have a team ourselves.”

The Columbia native who turned down power brokers to stay home and play for Frank Martin will have a decision to make next week. He’s a hot name on NBA Draft charts, and underclassmen now are able to work out for teams without losing their eligibility.

Hometown Kid PJ Dozier is Guiding South Carolina’s Cinderella Run

By David Gardner – Staff Writer at BleacherReport.com – Source Article

(B/R Mag)

After the formalities—after he slips on the “CUT THE NET” T-shirt, after he gathers with his teammates for the trophy presentation on the dais, after he snips a section of the net and strings it around his hat—PJ Dozier sets off on his own path.

He isn’t lost, but he doesn’t know exactly where he’s going. First, he finds a teammate holding the East Regional trophy—which South Carolina had earned by defeating No. 10 seed Marquette, No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Baylor and finally, on this Sunday afternoon, No. 4 Florida, giving the school its first Final Four berth—and pulls it into his chest.

“Oh yeah,” he says. “I’ll hold on to this for a while.” Then he lets a few fans find him, lowering his shoulders to slip into the camera frame for their selfies or throwing up four fingers for their Snapchat stories.

Then, as if he’s just remembered something he’d forgotten in another room, he 180s on the court and cuts through the maze toward the crowd.

PJ Dozier celebrates by cutting down the net after defeating Florida in the East Regional final on March 26, 2017.(Getty Images)

He high-fives his way through the fans standing courtside, slips between security guards at the bottom of the lower bowl and scales chairbacks till he reaches his destination: his family. Standing tall above the nearly dozen grandparents, parents, siblings and cousins who made the trip is Perry Dozier Sr., a former South Carolina forward and PJ’s father. Without a word, they embrace. And as PJ descends again toward the court, Perry yells, “I’m floating!”

As PJ makes his way at last toward the locker room, he finally finds the words to fit his feelings. “I’m blessed,” he says. “I’m living right now what every kid dreams about: playing for your hometown team and taking them further than they’ve ever been.”

Continue reading “Hometown Kid PJ Dozier is Guiding South Carolina’s Cinderella Run”

The moment everyone lets up shows why South Carolina is different

By Mike Vaccaro – New York Post – Source Article

“Don’t give anything away for free,” Dozier said later. “Play until they tell you to stop playing. That’s what this team has been about since Day 1.”

P.J. Dozier – Getty Images

You want to know why South Carolina took a blowtorch to your brackets, why an (alleged) football school out of an (alleged) football conference will be taking its No. 7 seed to Arizona with them while Duke and Kansas and Arizona and UCLA will be getting started with their lacrosse, outdoor track and softball seasons?

This one moment explains it all.

Eleven seconds left in the East Region final Sunday at Madison Square Garden. The Gamecocks are up five, 75-70. Florida is looking to do anything to extend the game, and so Chris Chiozza — Friday night’s hero — darts to the basket, knowing that Carolina will certainly let him have the easy deuce because everyone — honestly, no lie; just about every basketball team on earth — would let him have the easy deuce.

Well: almost every team.

P.J. Dozier doesn’t play matador. He actually stepped in front of Chiozza, and then he stripped Chiozza, and then he fed teammate Duane Notice for a dunk. It was 77-70. It ended that way. It was as quintessential a South Carolina moment as the Gamecocks could have conjured.

“Don’t give anything away for free,” Dozier said later. “Play until they tell you to stop playing. That’s what this team has been about since Day 1.”

There were plenty of sentimental reasons to enjoy South Carolina’s splendid sprint through the East brackets, first in Greenville, S.C., then in Manhattan. The Gamecocks’ coach, Frank Martin, may be the most-liked coach among his peers in all of Division I; good luck finding anyone to say a discouraging word about him. And after four days, it was easy to understand why.

Continue reading “The moment everyone lets up shows why South Carolina is different”

South Carolina is the most stunning Final Four team in years, but it’s no Cinderella

By Chris Chase @FireChrisChase – Source Article (www.foxsports.com)

South Carolina checks all the boxes for an NCAA tournament Cinderella. The Gamecocks, riding three-straight upsets of Duke, Baylor and Florida, capped one of the most unlikely Final Four runs the sport has ever seen, winning the much-heralded East region with a 77-70 victory Sundayover their favored conference foes from Gainesville.

If that’s not the stuff of glass slippers, then maybe this is: In the past 10 days, South Carolina has won twice as many NCAA tournament games (not including meaningless consolation games)than they had in the school’s entire history.
Just because it looks like a Cinderella doesn’t mean it is, however.

A Cinderella is a team that makes the best of its limited resources to go on a deep run in March, defying odds, logic and stratum. The Gamecocks may have the first two, but not the third. They play in the SEC, a conference ruled by its football powerhouse programs (which help command a reported $2.5 billion television contract) but is top-notch in nearly every other sport too. They’re a major university with a budget big enough to pay Steve Spurrier and lure coach Frank Martin away from another power school. The baseball team has two national championships. The soccer teams are a perennial contender. Swimming, track and golf have produced champions. The school’s other basketball team made a Final Four two years ago. And while the football team is often a doormat, even they played for the SEC championship in 2010.

Continue reading “South Carolina is the most stunning Final Four team in years, but it’s no Cinderella”

South Carolina beats Baylor 70-50 to advance to Elite Eight

By JIM O’CONNELL, AP Basketball Writer – Source Article

South Carolina guard PJ Dozier (15) puts up a shot against Baylor guard Manu Lecomte (20) in the second half of an East Regional semifinal game of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, Friday, March 24, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

NEW YORK (AP) — Apparently South Carolina is getting the hang of winning NCAA Tournament games.

The Gamecocks, who hadn’t won a tournament game since 1973, got their third this year. One more and it’s on to the Final Four.

“It’s a great win for the program,” Gamecocks guard Duane Notice said. “It’s a good feeling when we continue to make history and I think once we get a taste of it, we kind of get addicted and want to continue doing it.”

Sindarius Thornwell scored 24 points and seventh-seeded South Carolina cruised past third-seeded Baylor 70-50 on Friday night in the East Regional semifinals, the Bears’ worst NCAA Tournament loss.

The Gamecocks (25-10) were in control from the middle of the first half on, mixing defenses and hustling all over the Madison Square Garden court to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time.

Continue reading “South Carolina beats Baylor 70-50 to advance to Elite Eight”