CHAPEL HILL – P.J. Hairston’s citation for reckless driving Sunday afternoon outside Salisbury adds to his June arrest for possession of marijuana and driving without a license in which the charges were dropped and a speeding charge from May.
“This is stupid,” Chapelboro.com’s Art Chansky says. “I can’t think of another word.”
Chansky is also the host of Sport’s Notebook on WCHL.
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Chansky says perception now plays a major role in the future of Carolina basketball and Hairston’s role in it.
“Well, I think Roy was in a tough situation to begin with, because even though all the charges were dropped, we’re still–as we’ve talked about for many weeks now–we’re still talking about the perception and appearance for the sake of the University, which is maybe something that should not be heaped on one player,” Chansky says. “But, nevertheless, it’s kind of an ongoing story with our athletic department.”
UNC Athletics released a statement Sunday evening stating Hairston is suspended from the team indefinitely. Before Sunday’s citation and before the June 5 charges were dismissed, the only other statement released by Williams said in part, “PJ and I have had several discussions already and he knows he has made serious mistakes and there will be serious consequences as a result.”
“What comes of this now, I think, is going to depend on how P.J. reacts to this and how Roy and Bubba Cunningham decide how they want to proceed because of just what it looks like,” Chansky says.http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/chanksy-this-is-stupid/
DURHAM – The man who rented out the SUV in which UNC’s P.J. Hairston was found in possession of marijuana, told ABC 11 that he has no ties to the UNC basketball program, sports agents, or Hairston.
Haydn Patrick “Fats” Thomas said Hairston was driving the vehicle that was rented by Mykael Faulcon, who was in the car and also charged along with Carlos Sanford. Hairston also carries a charge of driving without a license, which is how the search began at a checkpoint in Durham.
Durham Police also found a 9mm handgun on the ground near where the three were arrested. Officials are reporting that a fingerprint test is being done on the weapon but is not yet complete.
Thomas said he doesn’t believe the gun belongs to any of the men who were arrested. He also said he’s never rented a vehicle to any athlete.http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/hairston-was-driving-suv-rented-to-other-in-the-car/
The hashtags started flying like PJ Hairston’s jump shots in Chestnut Hill on Tuesday night.
Hairston was finally blossoming into the player Roy Williams called “the best shooter he has ever recruited” in the first half against Boston College, and seemingly every UNC student with a Twitter was taking notice. Igniting the team with fourteen points in just twelve minutes of action, Hairston was making a strong case to replace Dexter Strickland in the starting lineup at shooting guard as an offensive catalyst. Then, disaster struck.
It was an incredibly odd scene to watch unfold. At UNC, we consider the basketball players to be demigods. They are stronger, faster, and more athletic than is seemingly imaginable. To steal a line from Austin Powers, women want to be with them, and men want to be them. Seeing one of these superheroes hurt so badly, unable to walk without support, was jarring. If you aren’t reminded every once in awhile, you can sometimes forget that basketball players are human, too. That reality, that athletes are also vulnerable, was all too apparent on Tuesday.
Tasteless jokes that Strickland hit PJ on purpose to save his job aside, the outpouring of support for Hairston was tremendous. Everyone quickly grasped the severity of the injury and the implications for the team. Without Hairston, our bench is reduced to Leslie McDonald (coming off injury and suspension), freshman forwards, and Blue Steel. For this team to finish strong and make a run in the NCAA Tournament, Hairston’s return will be key. Without him, Carolina will struggle, as they demonstrated with a lackluster effort in the second half against a weak Boston College team. Even with McDonald returning against Virginia Tech, the UNC bench managed just thirteen points, one fewer than Hairston alone had in his limited action at BC. That it took the best performances to date by James Michael McAdoo and Marcus Paige to beat the middling Hokies (at home, in overtime, no less) is both troubling and promising. While McAdoo and Paige are unlikely to play at such a high level on a consistent basis for the remainder of the season, the knowledge that they might is what UNC fans can hold onto until Hairston is back.
As someone who suffered a mild concussion earlier this year (intramural soccer is a dangerous business), the after-effects can linger for a long time after the injury. Physical ability may not be hindered after the first few minutes, but mental thought processes are often slower and reaction time to new information can suffer markedly. While everyone responds differently to brain injuries, the trauma that Hairston suffered is very serious. He probably doesn’t have the most beautiful countenance on the team to begin with, but his vacant stares from the bench are indicative of a player that won’t be fully recovered for some period of time. Even if he does recover quickly, there is an increased risk for a more severe concussion if he is hit again.
The trainers at campus health recommended that I not resume physical activity for at least three weeks following my concussion, though I get the feeling that PJ may be pressured to play sooner. The mysterious and somewhat subjective nature of brain injuries makes it possible that Hairston’s own evaluation of his injury and his desire to play will partially dictate when he returns to action, a potentially dangerous proposition.
For everyone’s sake, I just hope that #PJBeHealing.
P.J. Hairston is the most indispensable player on the North Carolina Tar Heel basketball team.
First, take a minute and let that sink in.
Now here’s why:
Hairston brings a toughness and intensity to the Tar Heels that doesn’t exist when he’s not on the court. He’s one of only a couple guys on the team that consistently attacks the basket with aggression and purpose. With the mentality of a star player, PJ’s confidence spreads throughout his teammates. Whichever term you want to put to it, the entire team is inspired by his play and brings their best effort to the court just by playing alongside him. This ability is priceless. He has to play as much as possible for UNC to be at its best.
Hairston also has tremendous versatility. He can play three different positions on both sides of the floor, and he uses his strength and basketball IQ to succeed against players of all sizes. He sets great screens, hustles on defense to take charges and get in the passing lanes, and can play outside or in the post.
Not all players can come off the bench on fire like Danny Green. Hairston shoots the ball much better when he’s in rhythm, and it’s really tough to get there when you’re playing inconsistent minutes in short spurts. Despite his slumps, his shots are never far from the mark, always missing either long or short. This is the sign of a great shooter, and he’ll find the range once he’s given the freedom to play his game.
PJ is the most talented scorer and most tenacious competitor on the team, and he takes care of the ball. His immense value was on display in the Heels’ best performance of the year against UNLV. Under no circumstances should a team play better with its most consistent player out with an injury, but that’s how important P.J. Hairston is to this team. His 32 minutes was by far a season high, and he’ll need to play that much or more for the Tar Heels to make the NCAA tournament.
Next week’s feature… Brice Johnson
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