Chapel Hill, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - P.J. Hairston's career at North Carolina
The junior guard won't suit up again for the Tar Heels due to an eligibility
issue that stemmed from alleged impermissible benefits.
"I am extremely disappointed for P.J., his family and our team as he will no
longer be playing basketball at North Carolina," said North Carolina coach Roy
Williams in a statement Friday. "P.J. made mistakes and I was very
disappointed by his actions and now he is suffering the very difficult
consequences. He is not a bad kid; he just made some mistakes."
North Carolina did not divulge details of Hairston's alleged transgressions,
but the Raleigh News Observer said the school became concerned when Hairston
was arrested twice earlier this year -- once for a marijuana possession charge
that was later dropped and once for speeding and reckless driving -- while
driving vehicles linked to Durham resident Haydn "Fats" Thomas, a felon and
local party promoter.
Williams suspended Hairston in July, but was allowed to practice with the Tar
Heels in September while the university continued its review with the NCAA.
"We first learned of this situation back in the summer and getting to this
point took a great deal of time because the university, the NCAA and P.J.'s
family took great care to learn as many of the facts as were possible to
learn," said North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham. "I know
everyone, from P.J. and his family, to the basketball team, our fans and the
media, wanted this process to play out faster than it did. However, it took
the time that was necessary and ultimately came to this difficult conclusion."
Hairston was North Carolina's leading scorer last season, averaging 14.6
points per game. He decided to return for his junior season rather than enter
the NBA Draft.
"Since summer, P.J. has been outstanding with our basketball program and with
his schoolwork," Williams added. "He has been called a 'perfect teammate' by
one of our other players. He has dominated our practices and at times has been
as good as any perimeter player I have ever coached, giving great effort to
help our team. He cares deeply about Carolina and the basketball program.
"P.J. has learned from this experience and will continue to grow as a player
and adult. I will support him and help him as much as I possibly can as he
enters this next phase of his life and basketball career."
Hairston sat out the first 10 games for the Tar Heels, who welcomed back guard
Leslie McDonald earlier this week.
McDonald missed nine games for receiving impermissible benefits and ordered to
repay $1,783 to the charity of his choice.
The Sports Network