USC Men's Basketball

Jump shot and back improving, as is Dozier’s draft stock

P.J. Dozier admitted to feeling tired. Such is life when cramming a 6-foot-7 frame into an airplane seat and flitting across the country like a giant waterbug.

But his physique – specifically, his back – is feeling fine, as is his jump shot.

“I’ve been training down in Santa Barbara (Calif.),” Dozier said at a pre-NBA Draft workout with the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday. “I think they kind of altered my shot a little bit as the pain was going on, but I don’t think it really affected me too, too much.”

Dozier’s stock has been rising since he was considered a “maybe” after he first declared. The former South Carolina sophomore point guard now looks to be a definite pick in the June 22 draft. He’s 27th in one mock draft, 48th in another, but almost all declare that Dozier is one of the Top 60 players in the country and should be picked.

He has no shortage of interest. Tuesday was his 11th workout, and he has three more before the big day. Dozier was set to head to New Orleans next, then Atlanta and Denver.

He was in Charlotte with five other prospects – Southeast Missouri State’s Antonius Cleveland, Creighton’s Justin Patton, Georgia Tech’s Quinton Stephens, in addition to Clemson products Jaron Blossomgame and Avry Homes. The six worked out in front of a gym full of front-office types and coaches. The public part of the workout had Dozier working his way around the perimeter, firing 3-pointers.

That’s been the biggest question, ever since a back spasm knocked him out of a game at Kentucky and his jumper suffered the rest of the season. The other parts of Dozier’s game flourished, as he helped lead the Gamecocks to their first Final Four. But the largest concern about him making it at the next level centered on that jumper.

He’s worked with a back specialist and a shooting specialist at Peak Performance Project (P3) in California to improve, and added muscle to his lanky frame. Jumpers were hit-and-miss but the form was the same every time.

“I still have to work on perimeter shooting,” Dozier said. “But versatility. That’s what I hang my hat on.”

Dozier’s defense has been a large part of him rising in draft war rooms, as he’s expected to be able to step right in and perform at an NBA level. Charlotte would be a great fit for the Columbia native, but as he said when he declared, anywhere is fine as long as it’s in the NBA.

“It feels like home. I grew up watching them. It’d be great,” Dozier said. “It’s all about getting there, but my main focus is once I get there, to stay there.”

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