The pressure that comes with being the No. 1 ranked point guard in America could be overwhelming for some, but not for 2015 Columbia (S.C.) Spring Valley high school floor leader Perry Dozier Jr. Also known as P.J., Dozier is the son of former South Carolina big man Perry Dozier, and dad also doubles as his basketball coach, taking a serious approach to his son’s game and long term development starting all the way back in kindergarten.
“He started playing AAU basketball when he was six and he’s always played up in the age bracket and still does to this day,” Dozier’s father told GoBlueWolverine. “I did that mainly because I’m 6-foot-11 but I wasn’t sure how tall he would wind up being and I didn’t want him to be limited to being stuck in the post.
“I always played him up so he was always the smallest kid on the team and they’d put the ball in his hands. That was a strategy that we came up with and it seemed to work so far.”
Dozier is not only making it work, but flourishing as a five-star, 6-foot-3, 170-pound guard with interest and offers from basketball programs all over the country. Seen as a pure point guard at the next level, Dozier’s size and versatility allow him to play anywhere from the one to the three for his Upward Stars team on the AAU circuit.
“Schools are recruiting him as a one but they like the fact that he’s a combo guard,” Dozier’s father said. “He can shoot the ball well, he can get to the bucket, he can rebound -- he can do anything a three and a two can do. They love the versatility of a guard that can be a true point but can play other positions and I think that makes him more valuable. The No. 1 attribute that he has is that he has vision. He has a very high IQ for the game.”
Just wrapping up his first tournament action of the July evaluation period, all of the heavy hitters in college basketball were courtside to watch Dozier at Peach Jam, including North Carolina, North Carolina State, Georgetown, Florida, USC, South Carolina, Clemson, Indiana, Kansas, and Ohio State. Coming off a sprained knee that kept him out of game action leading up to Peach Jam, Dozier managed to lead his team one game shy of an appearance in the championship.
“Overall, I think he did pretty good,” Dozier said. “He had one game, an 8 o’clock game, and I think that’s when most of the big coaches were there as well but he came right out of the shoot and scored the first six buckets, started rebounding, and looked like himself again. That game in particular stood out.”
Also securing a seat in the stands to watch Dozier in Georgia this past weekend was Michigan. Although head coach John Beilein has been in Russia as an assistant for team USA at the World University games, he and the Wolverines made contact with Dozier on June 15 and have continued to show increased interest of late.
“Oh yeah, I love Michigan” said Dozier’s father laughing. “That’s one of P.J.’s schools that he likes as well. We’ve spoken several times. Michigan is definitely high on the radar.
“I’ve talked to two or three assistants and I talked with the head coach as well. Coach Beilein was actually overseas when he called so that was very impressive. Super, super staff. Super, nice guys.”
Admittedly fond of the fab five, who rocked the Maize & Blue jerseys in the early 90’s, Dozier has taken notice of the development of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., both former Wolverines and first round picks in the 2013 NBA draft.
“I’ve never really looked back that deep but just the fact that they have guys going to the league is big,” Dozier’s father said. “That’s a dream of P.J.’s as well, to have the opportunity to do that and of course they’ve produced a lot of players to do that.
“That’s going to be one of his evaluations for when it comes down to picking a school, and he’s completely wide open right now, has no favorites, and I’m glad, because we got to evaluate and he’s got two more years before he comes out.”
Appearing to jump into the fray of Dozier’s recruitment a little late, potentially having ground to make up, Dozier Sr. said that couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to Michigan, with the Wolverines in the running to make his son’s top 10 come August.
“It’s a very strong chance,” he said. “You know, we say they’re late but in reality, I shouldn’t say recruited, but he’s been being watched for a long time. But June 15 made a huge difference and that’s what we call our starting point. There’s schools that have been interested him the last couple years but we know the real recruiting started with him on the 15 and that’s how we’re going to evaluate it. We don’t look at anybody late now because this is the recruiting time.”
The Dozier’s plan to sit down the first week of August to come up with a top list of schools, hoping to save some coaches from putting in unneeded effort, while also looking to setup visits.
“We don’t want to have coaches spending a lot of time trying to recruit when we’re not interested,” Dozier said. “So we’re going to at least get to the point where we know the schools we are really interested in.”