Hairston announces intent to remain with Tar Heels
North Carolina’s leading scorer is coming back for another season.
Sophomore P.J. Hairston announced Friday that he will return to school, ending three weeks of speculation that he might enter the NBA draft.
“I value the experiences I have had over the past two years in Chapel Hill and hope to continue to grow under (Coach Roy Williams’) guidance,” Hairston said in a statement released by the school.
Hairston led the team with 14.6 points per game during the 2012-13 season. His average shot up to 18.2 points after the Greensboro native entered the starting lineup for the final 13 games, spurring a late-season charge by the Tar Heels (25-11).
The 6-5 guard also was third on the team in rebounds (4.3) and second in 3-point percentage (39.6).
Hairston and freshman point guard Marcus Paige give the Tar Heels at least two returning starters for the 2013-14 season. UNC’s two other top scorers — sophomore James Michael McAdoo (14.4) and junior Reggie Bullock (13.9) — still haven’t announced their intentions. The deadline to enter the NBA draft is April 28.
Williams said last week that the school would release a joint announcement after all three players had made their decisions. But Hairston appeared to have jumped the gun, posting Friday afternoon on his Twitter account: “My junior year will be one to remember.”
Most mock drafts had Hairston being selected in the second round, and only first-round picks get guaranteed contracts. No UNC player has left early without being selected in the first round since junior Jeff McInnis in 1996.
Hairston said he made his choice after consulting with Williams and his immediate family, including his mother, Wendy Mailey.
“Throughout this process, it has been amazing to watch P.J. utilize the values we have taught him,” Mailey said in a statement. “I am proud that he took the initiative to weigh the impact of short-term gratification versus long-term success to come to his decision to stay in school.
“I’ve watched him continually mature and learn from each lesson he has been faced with over the past two years. And now, his commitment to furthering his education, and to his coach and teammates, further exemplifies his growth.”