Former UNC player P.J. Hairston headed to NBA Developmental League

acarter@newsobserver.comJanuary 10, 2014 

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North Carolina’s P.J. Hairston (15) puts up a shot against Villanova in the 2013 NCAA tournament.

ROBERT WILLETT — 2013 NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

Former North Carolina basketball player P.J. Hairston will attempt to play in the NBA’s Developmental League, he said Friday.

In a statement Hairston released through a family associate, he said he submitted his paperwork to play in the NBA D-League. Hairston’s next step had been unclear since last month when UNC decided not to seek his reinstatement after the university and NCAA investigated his receipt of impermissible benefits.

“I’ve spent the past couple of weeks consulting with my family about what’s best for me, my development and my future,” Hairston said in his statement.

In addition to submitting paperwork for the D-League, Hairston said he is also enrolled in an online course at UNC. He said he turned in his first assignment on Thursday.

“I am excited to continue to pursue my degree at UNC while also pursing my dream of becoming a professional basketball player,” Hairston said.

Hairston averaged 14.6 points per game during his sophomore season. He lost his college eligibility following a series of decisions that UNC was unwilling to reconcile with the NCAA.

Most of Hairston’s troubles are related to his use of rental cars tied to Haydn “Fats” Thomas, a Durham resident and felon who came to know local athletes through parties. UNC senior guard Leslie McDonald served a suspension during the Tar Heels’ first nine games because of his use of luxury cars connected to Thomas.

Hairston drove similar cars – a rented 2012 Chevrolet Camaro and a rented 2013 GMC Yukon – on at least two occasions. Both of those rentals were either paid for by Thomas or by a woman who shared his address. Hairston was arrested in early June while driving the Yukon. His charges of misdemeanor marijuana possession and driving without a license were later dropped.

Though Hairston didn’t play a game with UNC this season, he practiced with the Tar Heels through the middle of December. At one point, UNC coach Roy Williams said Hairston was playing as well in practice as any perimeter player he had ever coached.

Carter: 919-829-8944 Twitter: @_andrewcarter

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