Dozier Eager to Return

COLUMBIA, S.C. – P.J. Dozier last played a high school game on Feb. 19, 2013 as a sophomore.

The next time he plays for his high school team, nearly 20 months later, he'll be a senior. He and his father also believe he'll be stronger, taller, faster and an overall better player.

All because of a torn ACL he's played with since middle school.

"My rehab is progressing well and I'm a little bit ahead of schedule," said Dozier, a class of 2015 prospect. "I'm ready to come back. My daily routine is basically trying to do a lot of strengthening up my knee and building up the muscle mass around it to keep it secure and safe the rest of my career. "

In five months since surgery, Dozier's had a more intimate view of his father's – Spring Valley (S.C.) head man Perry Dozier Sr. – coaching style. That has bred a new found respect for coaches.

"You learn a lot more from sitting on the sideline and not playing," he said. "Being able to see the game and pick up a lot of things from coaches like my dad, I can definitely say that's a positive about sitting out."

The Doziers: father & son
"The coaches know what they're talking about," he continued. "When the coach is in your ear you hear them and ultimately, if you don't get it, you'll say ‘I'll try it' and move on. But sitting on the bench and watching a lot of games, I feel like I'm almost in the coach's shoes."

Dozier Sr. called the injury a "blessing" and believes it provides his son with a chance to recharge and start the rest of his career.

"I know it's going to help his game," Dozier Sr. said. "To be a (floor) general, you have to understand everything about the game. "I can look back now and see a lot of things I wish I'd done in my career. Once it's over it's over. But in his situation, fortunately, it isn't. He can look back and know that he still has many years ahead of him. I think he has the best of both worlds."

Dozier has added an inch in height and about 15 pounds of muscle to his frame. He's now a 6-foot-6, 185-pound combo guard. His doctor said he could grow to as tall as 6-8 or 6-9, which isn't surprising considering his father is 6-11.

"A stronger knee, a bigger frame, more knowledge, how can he not be better after the surgery?" Dozier Sr. asked. "I can't imagine what kind of player he's going to be with a complete knee, versus what he's done with half a knee."

Body style, however, won't change the role Dozier hopes to have when he enrolls at the college of his choice in June 2015.

"Since I started playing at the age of five, I've always had the ball in my hands," Dozier said. "Being taller and bigger is just a gift. Being able to play the '2,' '3' and possibly the '4' is great, but the '1' and '2' is where I see myself staying at. But I'm fine being moved to the '3,' if that's where the coach need me."

Dozier said his two biggest strengths are his size and basketball IQ.

"I'm just a versatile player," he said. "Being a 6-6 point guard, you can't teach height. A lot of coaches and writers, they all commend me on my IQ for the game. That's the something I take pride in because you can't teach it. Just having the gifts that you can't teach is important to me. I think I'm a good all-around player who gets his teammates the ball and is able to put the ball in the basket."

Check back tomorrow for Part II of this on-location feature, which will focus on Dozier's recruitment

P.J. Dozier Profile

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