It didn’t come to P.J. Dozier in a dream or from any one bit of advice from a person within his circle.
The decision was his, and his alone. On April 17, just four days after declaring for the NBA Draft with the caveat that he could come back to South Carolina, Dozier opted to sign with an agent and dive fully into the process.
Being completely invested was the only way to go for someone who describes himself as “an either-you’re-going-to-do-it-or-not kind-of guy.”
“It was really just on me,” Dozier said Thursday at the NBA Draft Combine. “I had my supporting cast, my family, my coaches. They allowed me to make my own decisions. They definitely helped me throughout the process and let me know how they felt about each decision that I was making.
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“Ultimately, they left it up to me,” he said. “I was ready to be all in and try to make this next step.”
Dozier signed with BDA Sports Management, headed by agent Bill Duffy, and left Columbia the next day to begin training in Santa Barbara, Calif.
His decision was supported by Gamecocks coach Frank Martin and his teammates, including fellow NBA Draft Combine invitee Sindarius Thornwell.
“I knew he was going to declare, but I was surprised with him signing an agent right away,” Thornwell said, “but that’s my guy and that’s my brother. I was going to support him regardless if he was in school or he was in the NBA. Whatever happens, I’m going to be there for him.”
Dozier was able to finish his sophomore year at South Carolina and will return one day to get his degree, he said.
His shot, specifically his work on the perimeter, has been a point of emphasis for him leading up the combine and will continue to be a focus as the draft approaches.
Dozier was second on the Gamecocks in scoring this season at 13.9 points per game. He played some of his best basketball in the NCAA Tournament, helping lead the Gamecocks to their first Final Four. He averaged 15.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists in USC’s five NCAA games.
In the postseason, he shot 19 percent from 3-point range and 56 percent from the foul line and finished with a season average of 30 percent and 60 percent, respectively.
He was 2-of-11 shooting Thursday in the five-on-five game portion of the combine, held at the Quest Multisport complex, and both field goals made were 3-point shots. He finished with six points and six rebounds.
Dozier interviewed with six teams Thursday, including the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks, and will talk to more teams Friday.
Meeting new people, including such executives as Heat president Pat Riley, is one of the perks of being in Chicago for the combine, Dozier said.
“I always dreamed of playing on this level,” Dozier said. “It’s really a dream come true now that I’m here, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do.”