P.J. Hairston Involved in Altercation with High School Basketball Player

Tim KeeneyContributor IJuly 7, 2014

Getty Images

Updates from Monday, July 7

The Hornets released a statement on P.J. Hairston on the team's official website:

The organization is aware of an incident this afternoon involving P.J. Hairston. We are in the process of gathering additional information and will have no further comment at this time.

ABC 11 executive producer Derek Rowles previously reported that Durham Police have charged Hairston following this weekend's altercation: 

WRALSportsFan.com broke down the next steps in the charges against Hairston:

Former University of North Carolina guard and Charlotte Hornets rookie P.J. Hairston was issued a misdemeanor criminal summons Monday, a day after he was involved in an altercation with Northern Durham High School’s Kentrell Barkley at a Durham YMCA.

The summons was taken out by Barkley Monday morning and Hairston was not arrested.

According to the summons filed to the Durham County Sherriff's Office, Hairston faces assault and battery after punching Barkley twice in the head during a pick-up basketball game.

Hairston is due in court Aug. 8 to appear in front of a magistrate for the incident. Barkley, as well as another witness, have been ordered to testify at the proceeding.

Hairston previously released his first public response on Twitter following the incident:


Original Text

Once again, Charlotte Hornets first-round pick P.J. Hairston is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. 

The former University of North Carolina Tar Heel was involved in an altercation during a pickup game Sunday, during which he punched a high school student. 

Hairston's agent, Juan Morrow, via The Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell, confirmed the news: "The other guy pushed (Hairston) and he pushed back. Both shoved each other. He swung at P.J. and P.J. swung back."

Morrow added that "both connected" with their punches.

According to ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman, the high school player was Northern Durham High rising senior Kentrell Barkley, who has offers from several mid-major programs, per 247 Sports (Campbell, Charlotte, East Carolina, North Carolina Central, UNC Wilmington, Western Kentucky).

Vince Phillips, Barkley's friend who just finished his freshman year at Coastal Carolina University, gave his account of the altercation, per Goodman: 

Kentrell's team had beaten P.J. a few times and they were winning again. P.J. was talking to him, then he got the ball, looked up the court and dribbled to Kentrell full-speed, threw his fist and then went and scored. Then he hit him again.

I'm a lifelong UNC fan and I played against P.J. in high school. I've always rooted for him -- even with all the stuff that happened last year. But after this, I don't think I could look him in the face.

There are conflicting opinions about what exactly materialized. One thing is clear, though: No matter what happened, Hairston has to get himself under control. 

Yes, emotions can run high during any level of competition, but whether he was hit first or not, he can't stoop to fighting with high school students barely a week after being drafted into the NBA. There is no sense in jeopardizing his situation over something so trivial. 

CBS Sports' Doug Gottlieb put it simply: 

To make matters worse, there are already question marks about Hairston's decision making off the court. 

His collegiate career at UNC was cut short after he lost eligibility due to allegedly receiving improper benefits. He chose to play in the D-League for a season, and after a successful stint there, the 21-year-old was taken by the Hornets with the No. 26 pick. 

"I've some bumps in the road that I had to overcome and I feel like I've done that," he told reporters on June 27, via The Associated Press.

Hairston is a talented scorer capable of leaving his mark on the NBA game, but he needs to get his head on straight first.