Spring Valley High point guard Perry Dozier Jr., better known as P.J., found himself in an unfamiliar position this past season.
The 6-foot-7, 185-pound junior was sidelined from the basketball court this past season after having successful ACL surgery during the offseason.
Dozier said not being able to be on the court last year was tough but also said it gave him a unique perspective on the game that he hadn’t seen before.
“Mentally it was hard but I’d have to say it was probably the best overall experiences that I’ve had,” he said. “Just being able to sit and be under my dad (head boys’ basketball coach Perry Dozier) and the coaching staff, I really got the feel of how it is to be a coach instead of a player.”
Dozier wants to use this unique perspective, as well as his talents, when he attends one of the most prestigious basketball camps in the country in June.
Dozier was selected to be a participant in the NBA Players Association Top 100 basketball camp for the second consecutive summer. The camp will be held from June 17 through June 22 at the University of Virginia.
The camp was created by the Players Association in 1994 and is designed to develop the basketball and life skills for 100 of the best sophomore and junior high school prospects in the nation.
Dozier said it was a great feeling to be asked to come back to the camp despite losing a whole season because of his injury.
“It’s definitely a blessing to be able to have the opportunity to go out to the camp not just one year, but having ACL surgery and still being recognized for the talents that I have and being invited back,” he said.
Dozier said he’s worked hard to get back to the form he had a year ago, whether it’s strengthening his body and his knee in the weight room or working on his agility on the court. He said keeping a positive mindset has been one of the most important things.
“All that has been going on and all that went on … I’m not seeing this as much as a setback but more so of a setup,” he said. “I try not for it to bring me down and just look at it as a positive stand point.”
Dozier also was selected to play in a high school basketball camp through USA Basketball but had to make a decision since both camps run at the same time this year. Dozier’s father said he thinks going to either camp is a positive for his son and also for Spring Valley High School.
“Everything is about him maturing and getting bigger and better on and off the court,” said the elder Dozier. “Whatever is going to help take him to where he is trying to get to I think is a great accomplishment. It definitely is good for Spring Valley. Anything that’s positive for being a great athlete and a good student is (great) to bring to the table.”
Dozier also will be accompanied by two other Midlands high school players. Dreher High junior Tevin Mack and Hammond sophomore Seventh Woods also received invites to the camp.
Dozier said he’s excited to be able to play with and against his peers from the same area.
“They always told us we are a football state now and just having three kids out of Columbia being able to get an invitation to the NBA Top 100 camp, it’s definitely and accomplishment for us,” he said.
Dozier said his Spring Valley teammates are happy for him but said he doesn’t talk about the camp much. He said he just wants to head to camp and play as hard as he can to see where the chips might fall.
“I don’t really get into certain accomplishments that I want to achieve,” he said. “If I go out there and play my game and enjoy myself doing it, all that will take care of itself.”
Follow Dozier’s journey in the camp on Twitter at @Dozier_Kid.