One night after scoring seven points and grabbing four rebounds in an easy victory over the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers at the TD Garden, Boston Celtics Two-Way player PJ Dozier found himself prepping for the Maine Red Claws tipoff against the Capital City Go-Go in the depths of the Portland Expo building.
Such is the life of an NBA G-League player with Two-Way status – you may be in the NBA one night, but don’t get used to it for too long.
NCAA hoop-heads won’t need a refresher on Dozier, an athletic 6’6 guard with a 7-foot wingspan who helped lead the University of South Carolina to its first-ever NCAA Final Four appearance in 2016-17. In fact, one of those NCAA Tournament wins came against the University of Duke and a freshman by the name of Jayson Tatum.
“When I first got up to Boston, we kind of joked around with it a little bit,” a chuckling PJ Dozier said.
Dozier decided to leave for the NBA after his sophomore season, a difficult decision for anyone, but particularly for him, a native of Columbia, S.C.
“It was tough, man,” Dozier said of his choice to leave. “I definitely had a lot of people in my ear telling me to do both things…but ultimately I had to make the best decision for me.”
After spending last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder’s G-League team, Dozier signed a Two-Way contract with the Celtics in August. Given the talent that’s currently on display on the parquet floor in Boston, it’s no surprise that Dozier is set to become a fixture in Maine this season.
That’s not to say that Dozier, a former McDonald’s All-American and consensus top-25 high school recruit, doesn’t have the NBA skill-set to succeed in a league that values versatility and length so much these days.
“His ability to create and ball handle with his size has been really huge for us,” Maine Red Claws head coach Brandon Bailey, in his second season with the Red Claws, said about Dozier.
“Defensively, being a great help defender, communicator, he has a really good understanding of where to be each and every single possession and he helps the guys with that as well,” Bailey added.
Dozier had a previous connection to the Boston Celtics organization, as he’s a cousin of the late, great Reggie Lewis (if you’re unaware of who Lewis was, here he is blocking Michael Jordan four times).
“Seeing clips and hearing people talk about his game is definitely a blessing, definitely amazing to have someone to look up to like that,” Dozier said.
“I definitely hold it near to my heart that he was a great player and a good guy off the court.”
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