The South Carolina men's Basketball coach, Frank Martin paid a last-minute visit to the home of combo-guard recruit Perry Dozier in a last effort to sway him. It worked. Now, USC is looking to build on a somewhat uplifting season with ESPN's 19th ranked recruit on their roster.
While Dozier can play either back-court spot, he looks to be a better shooting-guard in college, as many teams -- including USC -- play a position-less lineup, allowing his 6'6" frame to wreak havoc on the perimeter against smaller defenders.
Dozier's decision-making in the open court also looks to be something that will benefit the Gamecocks a great deal. USC shot 40-percent as a team last season. Dozier's court-vision will allow them to get some easy baskets in transition, rather than relying on their atrocious offense to run it's course.
One of Dozier's more pronounced strengths -- slashing to the basket -- may be seldom-used in his freshman season, as the Gamecocks lack anything resembling a perimeter game. The Gamecocks shot 30-percent as a team from beyond the three-point line last year, meaning defenses had absolutely no problem leaving roaming Gamecocks open on the perimeter in favor of collapsing inside to protect the paint.
Instead, Dozier will find more success -- at least initially -- running off screens, and orchestrating pick-and-rolls to give himself open jump-shots. His mid-ranged shot is superb, and should serve him well in Frank Martin's pick-and-roll-heavy offense. He can also hit the open spot-up three, though Dozier will need to refine his stroke from outside if he's too truly help elevate USC's perimeter game.
Dozier will likely get a lot of runs at the point-guard spot, as Martin looks for a more adept facilitator. Tyrone Johnson led the Gamecocks in assists last season with 3.5 per-game. Dozier will likely be evaluated in his running of a college offense. The pace at which the Gamecocks play is slow, which will serve Dozier well in the short-term, but a distinct possibility is that he will attempt to take games over much of the time. This will likely result in some ugly shots on the inside, some contested jump-shots, and all-around doom for a Gamecocks offense that is looking to be wildly inefficient already.
Still though, I believe Dozier will uplift the Gamecocks in his first year from their 17-16 record. Dozier will learn to play within Martin's stout defense, and ultimately find his game just fine in his Freshman season.
Expect Dozier to step in and immediately become USC's best overall player right from the beginning. A brief transition will inevitably take place, though the usual soft-scheduling at the beginning of the season will ensure Dozier is ready for conference play to begin.