P.J. Dozier will get a chance to play in the NBA. It will just be through the free-agent route.
Dozier wasn’t selected in Thursday’s NBA Draft. But according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, the former Spring Valley and South Carolina standout will sign a free-agent contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The news came early Friday morning, shortly after Dozier watched the draft with more than 100 friends gathered in Northeast Columbia.
“I have been through it before but there is still more to come. It’s not over,” Dozier said shortly after going undrafted. “I’m going to continue to get better and continue to push and see what God has in store for me.”
Dozier said he didn’t regret making the decision to leave USC early after helping the Gamecocks to their first Final Four. This setback will fuel him going forward, he believes.
“Only thing in my mind is to figure out what I got next and to continue to keep going,” Dozier said.
Dozier went and personally thanked each person who was left inside The Gala in Northeast Columbia. He and sister Asia Dozier also addressed the people who began to arrive around an hour before the draft started. Several USC dignitaries showed up, including university president Harris Pastides, women’s coach Dawn Staley and several USC men’s basketball players.
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.
Dozier worked out for the Lakers on June 9, along with USC teammate Sindarius Thornwell, who was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers after being drafted by Milwaukee.
Most NBA mock drafts had Dozier going in the second round. He worked out for around dozen teams and most NBA experts liked his upside and potential.
Dozier didn’t want to speculate why he wasn’t drafted, but there might have been questions about his back, which knocked him out of a game against Kentucky. He struggled shooting after that.
Dozier said earlier this month while working out for the Hornets that he worked with a back specialist and a shooting specialist at Peak Performance Project (P3) in California to get better.
“I’m not really sure. I’m not going to talk for them. I’m not really sure,” Dozier said. “Whatever it was, I’m going to continue to do my best to grind and prove them wrong. I’m definitely going to have that chip on my shoulder wherever I go to work out or work.”