DURHAM — North Carolina fans may have been alarmed at the sight of incoming freshman P.J. Hairston icing his wrist at the Greater N.C. Pro-Am.
But they will be delighted to know how the injury occurred -- another high-flying one-handed dunk from the athletic shooting guard.
"I bruised my wrist from dunking too hard," said Hairston, who thought he would be fine in a few days. "(I wanted to) give the crowd a show."
Hairston only took a handful of jump shots but scored 25 points on a variety of drives to the basket as Triangle Gastroenterology fell to Team McGladrey 97-84 Thursday night.
UNC's past, present and future were all on display last night as alumni Rasheed Wallace and David Noel, junior Leslie McDonald and freshmen Hairston and James Michael McAdoo were split among the three men's games at N.C. Central's McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium. Still the night was also notable for who didn't take the court.
The highlight of last year's summer league came when the incoming freshmen of UNC and N.C. State faced off in an early ACC preview as a packed gym of 3,000 watched. A capacity crowd turned out again hoping for a rematch, but the players didn't cooperate - Harrison Barnes and John Henson were among the no-shows for UNC, while Wolfpack sophomore C.J. Leslie came after tipoff and didn't take the court.
Instead, Hairston was left to represent the Tar Heels, while sophomore Lorenzo Brown (12 points) and graduate student Alex Johnson (16 points) showed up for State.
Hairston's team only had five players for the first 15 minutes and ended with just one substitute, but the Greensboro native didn't mind.
"Sometimes they show, and sometimes they don't," Hairston said. "John and Harrison had some kind of meeting, so I knew they couldn't make it, and I was like, 'Oh OK, I'll just come out here and have fun.' If I'm not doing anything else, I'm going to play ball."
While he was out there, Hairston said he wanted to work on his ballhandling. He knows he needs to make strides if he wants significant minutes for UNC, which returns its entire starting five.
"It's a great feeling to be on the best team in the country starting off the season," Hairston said. "You have to come in and get that hard work and watch it pay off. If you work hard in practice, you'll play in the game."
While Hairston's dunks - and a block that he sent into the stands - earned cheers from UNC supporters, Brown earned the applause of Team McGladrey's coaching staff when he actually pulled the ball back out with two minutes left and his team holding an 11-point lead.
Brown declined to comment after the game, citing a team policy. But Hairston sent a message to the Wolfpack, which seemed especially fitting after his dunking exhibition last night.
"Look out," Hairston said. "And box out."