Perry Dozier never questioned his son’s decision to leave South Carolina for the NBA and has been pleased with his development in his first season of professional basketball.
P.J. Dozier is a guard for the Oklahoma City Blue, the G-League team of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder. Dozier, a former McDonald’s All-American and key member of the Gamecocks’ Final Four run last season, opted for the NBA draft following his sophomore season.
Many Gamecock fans questioned Dozier’s move and voiced their displeasure on social media, especially after he went undrafted in June. Dozier signed with the Los Angeles Lakers on draft night and played with them in the NBA Summer League.
After being released by the Lakers, Dozier played in the preseason with the Dallas Mavericks before signing a two-way deal with the Thunder, where he was given Kevin Durant’s old number 35.
Dozier has been able to shine over the past month. He entered Friday night’s game, averaging 12.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game for the Blue. He has started 28 of the team’s 33 games, scored double figures in nine straight games and poured in a career-high 26 points against the South Bay Lakers on Jan. 28.
“He is coming along well. I am really enjoying watching the progress he is making as an NBA player. Just watching his size, mentality and ability, he is looking like a true NBA player,” Perry Dozier said. “He is very pleased with his decision, and I am pleased with his decision. He loves what the University of South Carolina has done for him, and he misses it very much. He enjoyed being around coach Frank Martin and the guys. But he is really happy where he is, and I don’t think he is looking back at all and saying, ‘I wish I had stayed back.’ ”
Speaking with Basketball Insiders at last month’s G-League Showcase, P.J. Dozier said his first year of pro ball has been a good learning experience and is enjoying everything that goes along with it.
“I learn a ton, every game, every practice, every off day. It is definitely professional basketball,” P.J. said. “I think it is a little underrated and gets moved to the side, but it is definitely professional basketball, and you can tell when you are out there.”
Perry Dozier, the boys’ basketball coach at Spring Valley, has not attended any games in Oklahoma City because of his coaching duties but will when his season ends. Dozier said his wife and daughter Asia, who is playing overseas, each have spent time with P.J. in Oklahoma City.
Perry watches games online and said the biggest progress his son has made is his shooting. Dozier’s shooting percentage is up from college. He is hitting 45.2 percent from the field, including 32.9 from three-point range. With USC last year, he hit 40.7 percent and 29.8 percent from three.
“What was questionable was his shooting ability and he is shooting behind the arc very well. He is aggressive and getting to the bucket. His comfort level of shooting the ball is good, without questioning his shot,” Perry said. “I think you saw it coming along, but this transition from here to the NBA, he looks so good, especially the latter part of the season.”
Dozier’s father hopes his son’s play might earn him a promotion to the Thunder at some point this season. P.J. Dozier signed a two-way deal with the Thunder, and players who have signed to two-way contracts can be called up to their NBA team for a maximum of 45 days.
Daniel Hamilton, OKC’s other two-way player, has been called up this year and has appeared in two games.
“There is talk of pulling him up. It is just a matter of time. They made a contract that they will pull him up, and I know they like what they are seeing now. We are just waiting for that time. He is happy with his development and ready to go.”