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Gamecocks' PJ Dozier declares for NBA draft, still eligible to return - Apr 14, 2017


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PJ Dozier
South Carolina guard PJ Dozier (6'6''-F/G-96) has declared himself eligible for the NBA draft, but the Gamecocks' sophomore point guard has also left the door open for a possible return. Dozier has not hired an agent, meaning he could return to South Carolina for his junior campaign if he changes his mind within 10 days of the end of the NBA draft combine, scheduled for May 9-14 in Chicago. The 6-6 Columbia native averaged 13.9 points per game this past season, and was the second-leading scorer on a USC team that reached the Final Four. 'Not a surprise at all. Quite frankly, I think most people expected it. I would go so far as to say even (head coach) Frank Martin expected PJ to go through the process,' said Carey Rich, a former Gamecocks point guard who remains closely tied to the USC program and the Columbia high school basketball scene. 'That's what the system is in place for. It's in place for these underclassmen to get genuine and sincere feedback from the NBA brass. Not the college coach, not the community, not your uncle, not your dad, not your high school coach. From the NBA brass, the people you're trying to impress.' Dozier said in a statement that he discussed his draft status with family members and Martin after USC returned from the Final Four in Glendale, Ariz. 'I'm looking forward to continuing to grow my game, and the draft process,' he said. Added Martin: 'We are all very excited for PJ and the opportunity that he has in front of him in taking full advantage of his ability to test the waters and submit his name for the draft.' Rich, who played at USC from 1993-95, said Dozier will go into the combine seeking advice from NBA executives about his potential draft status, but also trying to build momentum that could raise his stock. 'If he gets into these camps and he plays well enough to generate momentum, I think it could become a different story," Rich said. "I think that's the common notion for any kid who has a legitimate chance of getting drafted. You go in wanting the feedback, but also you hope at some point to generate some momentum that will give you an opportunity to ultimately get drafted." NBA scouts were on hand to watch Dozier at almost every South Carolina game this season. While fans saw a sometimes inconsistent scorer who occasionally struggled with his shot, scouts saw a 6-6 point guard with tremendous length who could be explosive in driving to the basket. Although Dozier fell into a midseason slump at about the same time he sat out a game at Kentucky with back spasms, the point guard blossomed in the NCAA Tournament, in which he more often heeded Martin's request to be aggressive with the basketball. The result was a scoring average of 15.6 points per game. Dozier led or shared the team lead in scoring 11 times, led USC in assists 17 times, and logged 25 double-figure scoring outings. He posted nine 20-point performances, including a career high 26 versus Clemson in late December, and hit 40.7 percent of his attempts from the field. "From what I've been told, the one thing that makes him really, really attractive is that you don't have a lot of 6-6 point guards," Rich said. "You don't have a lot of 6-6 decision-makers. That's one thing the NBA folks really, really love about him." Dozier's potential departure would be a blow to a Gamecocks squad that loses senior guards Sindarius Thornwell and Duane Notice. Should Dozier elect to stay for his junior season, USC would return three starters from the Final Four team, and add scoring guard Kory Holden, who sat out this past season after transferring from Delaware.
Courtesy of: postancourier.com

  




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