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.