P.J. Hairston Suspended Indefinitely by North Carolina Tar Heels
P.J. Hairston's most recent run-in with the law has earned him an indefinite suspension from the University of North Carolina basketball team.
UPDATE: Thursday, Nov. 7, at 2:07 p.m. ET
InsideCarolina.com has the latest on P.J. Hairston's status with the Tar Heels:
UNC has announced that P.J. Hairston & Leslie McDonald will not play vs. Oakland in the season opener on Friday.— InsideCarolina (@InsideCarolina) November 7, 2013
Stephen Schramm of the Fayetteville Observer had more on the suspension:
PJ Hairston and Leslie McDOnald will not be playing against Oakland. Spokesman said it's an "ongoing issue." #UNC— Stephen Schramm (@stephenschramm) November 7, 2013
Roy Williams also commented on the Tar Heels' official website:
"It's frustrating but it's a long process," Williams said. "We're trying to do what we can do and the NCAA is trying to do what they can do."
"They've been practicing and they've been practicing really well," Williams said. "The last week I haven't had them on the first team at any point. I've had them on the blue team. P.J. has played about as well at this point in the season as any player I've ever had."
---End of update---
UPDATE: Thursday, Sept. 26, at 2:57 p.m. ET
InsideCarolina.com has comment from P.J. Hairston and Roy Williams following his suspension and status for the upcoming season:
PJ Hairston: "I know I've let a lot of people down, including our fans and all the people who love … UNC."— InsideCarolina (@InsideCarolina) September 26, 2013
Hairston: "I owe it to my mom, my dad, my coaches, teammates and every Tar Heel to make you proud to have me play basketball for UNC."— InsideCarolina (@InsideCarolina) September 26, 2013
Roy Williams says still no determination on how many games Hairston will miss.— InsideCarolina (@InsideCarolina) September 26, 2013
RoyW on PJ Hairston: "(Practicing) is the first step towards permanently earning his place back on the roster."— InsideCarolina (@InsideCarolina) September 26, 2013
Full quotes are available on the Tar Heels' website.
---End of update---
UPDATE: Thursday, Aug. 15, at 2:23 p.m. ET
Rob Dauster of Collegebasketballtalk.com has the latest on Hariston's status for the upcoming season:
At a faculty retreat for journalism professors, UNC’s athletic director Bubba Cunningham commented on the status of PJ Hairston.
According to Andy Bechtel, a journalism professorand a copy editor, when Cunningham was asked whether or not Hairston will play this year, he responded by saying “Yes, but not all the games.”
---End of update---
The junior guard was charged with "speeding and careless and reckless driving Sunday after being pulled over for driving 93 mph in a 65 mph zone," per USA Today Sports' Rachel Axon and Eric Prisbell.
Shortly after that news broke, the school made the decision to suspend Hairston, via UNC basketball's official Twitter account:
Hairston Suspended Indefinitely: http://t.co/iwL1WP4DnZ— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) July 29, 2013
Hairston was in the news recently after he was arrested on a misdemeanor marijuana charge stemming from a traffic stop, but those charges were dropped last week. North Carolina's athletic website cited only Sunday's traffic violation in the official announcement of the suspension.
Although "indefinite" leaves things wide open, this could be potentially brutal news for Tar Heels fans, as Hairston was set to enter the 2013-14 season as a legitimate contender for ACC Player of the Year.
He averaged 14.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per contest last season, but after head coach Roy Williams switched to a four-guard lineup, Hairston looked rejuvenated, showing the talent that made him such an enticing recruit coming out of high school.
In the last 13 games of the season (counting the ACC and NCAA tournaments), Hairston averaged 18.2 points on 44.7 percent shooting and 42.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
He's a big, strong wing (6'5", 220 pounds) with the ability to attack the hoop off the bounce or knock down the outside shot. Not only is he extremely talented, but the departures of Reggie Bullock and Dexter Strickland make him crucial for the Tar Heels' success next season.
ESPN's Dick Vitale understands his talents, and pleaded with Hairston to turn his life around via Twitter:
@MrHairston_15 GET HELP NOW b4 too late - one MUST ADMIT problem b4 u can SOLVE problem - stop embarrassing ur family team - coach & school— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) July 29, 2013
Nevertheless, the season is still about four months away, and as a story that could still potentially take several twists and turns, it's one worth paying very close attention to during the fall.
For now, we can only hope Hairston has learned his lesson—but this isn't the first time we've said that.
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