Just 48 hours after the North Carolina basketball program announced some good news about one of their players returning to action, the university dropped a bombshell concerning the status of junior forward P.J. Hairston.
North Carolina announces it will not apply for NCAA reinstatement for P.J. Hairston. Out for the season, but doesn’t crush draft hopes.
— Scott Howard-Cooper (@SHowardCooper) December 20, 2013
Hairston had been under investigation by the NCAA for an off-season scandal involving a rental car, but there has been trouble brewing here for a long, long time, and it’s not a shock to see it end in a complete parting of the ways. Still, it is a mild surprise that he will never set foot on the court for North Carolina again.
Here is a look at the situation via a release from UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham:
“Unfortunately P.J. made a number of mistakes that placed his eligibility at risk and the University’s joint review with the NCAA made it clear that seeking reinstatement for P.J. would not be possible. The University thanks him for his contributions to Carolina Basketball. We also want to thank Coach Williams for the way in which he has held the team together over the early stages of this season despite not having two veteran players and for the level of care and concern he has for the young men on his team.”
To be honest, this is a huge blow for the team on the court, simply because there is a real argument that Hairston would have been the best player on the 2013-2014 team. He averaged 14.6 points per game last season as a sophomore (which led the team), and while they’ve been fantastic in spurts (and awful in spurts) without him, the ceiling of Roy Williams’ team would have raised with him on the roster.
For Hairston, the focus now turns to the NBA Draft, where he is currently the #41 prospect according to ESPN’s Chad Ford. It’s unclear whether he’ll ever make an impact in the league, but this is a talented player who will hopefully be able to land on his feet basketball-wise. Stay tuned.