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.”
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.”
Head coach Frank Martin has preached to his players that they’ve earned the right to be where they are. Nothing was handed to them and they’ve worked and fought their way to this stage.
Senior Sindarius Thornwell has provided the confidence behind the mic, continually saying his team is not surprised about the situation they are in, shooting down the notion of being a team lucky or improbable to make it this far.
“From our part, we never doubted ourselves,” Thornwell said in New York at the Sweet 16. “We always thought we had a chance and we don’t look at is as that. From the outside, yeah.”
Next up for this “unlikely group” according to most, is another tournament giant in No. 1 seed Gonzaga in the Final Four.