A strong senior season continued on an excellent note this weekend, as Robert Dozier put up back to back excellent games in the semi and final games of the Conference USA Tournament, helping his Memphis Tigers win yet another conference title, and becoming a member of the winningest class in NCAA history along the way.
Dozier made a number of important improvements to his game as a senior, becoming a much more productive and efficient all-around player. His field goal percentage is up substantially, from 44 to 52%, despite shouldering a bigger role offensively, and hes become much more consistent both from the free throw line and beyond the arc.
His shooting stroke would probably be a good place to start. Dozier has made 21/52 3-point attempts so far this year, which is a good percentage (40.4%) but probably too small a sample size to get overly excited about. Dozier is pretty solid at making open 3s with his feet set and space to get his shot off, but he struggles when rushed or forced to shoot off the dribble. Part of the reason hes improved his percentages this year is because hes improved his shot-selection, cutting down on many of the wild fade-aways he would settle for in the past. He is pretty solid from mid-range now, also with his feet set, particularly from the elbow, where Memphis likes to let him go to work.
Dozier is still a pretty crude ball-handler, especially trying to change directions with the ball or utilize his left hand, but hes very capable of taking his man off one or two short dribbles if isolated 12-17 feet away from the basketand especially once again from the elbow. His first step is excellent, and hes become much smarter at knowing when to put the ball on the floor, which has made him a pretty nice mismatch for Memphis at the PF position this season, and has helped him get to the free throw line at a solid rate.
Not particularly strong in either the upper or lower body, Dozier has regardless become fairly effective operating with his back to the basket at the C-USA level, mostly utilizing his excellent quickness and above average footwork to beat opponents in the paint. His length and athleticism also allows him to be a fairly reliable finisher around the basket, making him a fairly popular target for Memphis guards to find on cuts or transition situations.
Defensively, Dozier is very solid, and obviously deserves credit for helping Memphis become one of the stingiest teams in all of college basketball. His length and athleticism play a big part in Memphis full-court press and pick and roll defense, where they like to switch on pretty much every screen. In the post he does a great job contesting shots, even though he lacks the strength to hold his ground against bigger opponents at times. Hes active in the passing lanes and is an above average shot-blocker as well, where his length comes in very handy. The downside here is his rebounding numbers, which are nothing to write home about.
Dozier has yet to really show what his niche will be at the next level, as hes not particularly skilled offensively in any facet, and there are question marks about how his defense and rebounding will translate to the NBA. He may lack the bulk to guard some of the stronger power forwards hell match up with at times, and probably is too upright on the perimeter to defend small forwards full time. The fact that he will turn 24 by the time the NBA season kicks off may make you wonder just how much weight hell be able to add to his skinny frame, as his body hasnt changed much over the last few years. Still, its not out of the question that a team decides to take a chance on him somewhere in the second round, or by offering a roster spot via training camp, as his combination of length, athleticism, activity level and ability to space the floor are all big pluses.