COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The thought of playing a professional sport is the one thing that excites any athlete and PJ Dozier is no different.
The former Spring Valley standout declared for the NBA Draft on Wednesday, but he did not hire an agent allowing him to remain eligible to return to South Carolina.
"I'm just blessed to be able to have the opportunity," said Dozier. "The NBA allows us young guys to be able to go and enter the draft, get some feedback, see where we are, and make the deciding choice whether we want to go or not."
Dozier averaged 13.9 points per game for Carolina standing only behind senior guard Sindarius Thornwell in that category. He increased his productivity during the NCAA Tournament averaging 15.6 points during the Gamecocks' historic run to the Final Four. Having that sort of success helped make the decision a little easier for Dozier.
"I was definitely happy how we had that run in the tournament not only for me but for my team as well," said Dozier. "I think that definitely put eyes on individual players, but with team success comes individual success. So, I'm just happy that we were able to make that run and be able to have this opportunity now."
Dozier said his family was just as excited about the decision as he was when he discussed it with him, but he received a large amount of support from South Carolina head coach Frank Martin.
"He was much help," said Dozier. "He's a great guy. He definitely handled this like I'm one of his sons. He has my best interests in mind and I know that. That's why I have the most faith and trust in him."
Dozier will have until May 24, which is 10 days after the NBA Draft Combine, to determine if he will remain in the draft or if he will return for his junior year at South Carolina. For now, Dozier believes he has a chance to make a name for himself competing against some of his peers.
"I think I have a great shot," Dozier said. "Personally, I have a lot of confidence in myself and playing for Coach Frank will definitely get you prepared for making decisions like this. It'll get you prepared for the next level. He's been doing a great job with me in terms of that."
The NBA Draft will take place on June 22.