Mar 22, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard P.J. Hairston (15) puts up a shot against the Villanova Wildcats in the first half during the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Stay or Go Pro? The Case for P.J. Hairston to Stay Put at UNC

The NBA Draft takes place on Thursday June 27th at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York.  As is the question almost annually when the North Carolina Tar Heels season ends is who will stay in school and continue to hone their skills at the collegiate level and who will take the plunge and head to the NBA.  While we all wish for everyone to follow the lead of Tyler Hansbrough whom despite being one of the best players in college basketball for the majority of his career, still opted to stay in school all four years chasing a national title, that’s just not realistic.  This off season three UNC players could all make the jump with P.J. Hairston, James Michael McAdoo and Reggie Bullock all considering the move.

Carolina head coach Roy Williams recently had this to say about this year’s group.

“We’ll look into it and see,’’ he said. “I don’t feel the sense of urgency right now with it that as I have in years’ past. We were an 8-seed [in the NCAA tournament]. We finished third in the league. We had 11 losses. The NBA usually likes to find those guys that come off teams that won 30 games and go to the Final Four. And our guys understand that. That’s not saying anything negative.”

Roy’s argument is supported by the fact that no matter what NBA Mock Draft resource you look at, you won’t see a Tar Heel in the top 20. McAdoo is the only one that seems like a first round lock. Perhaps the most interesting candidate is P.J. Hairston who has been a fan favorite all season and ended the year as the teams leading scorer after being inserted into the starting lineup.

Hairston proved to be the teams most dangerous and explosive player after Roy finally made the move of inserting him into the lineup.  He’s the one player on the roster who can do it all, the one guy I can picture going to the league and becoming a star without any drastic changes to his game.

Despite that Hairston has a ton to gain from coming back to school, at the top of the list is draft position which equals money.  NBA executives simply haven’t seen enough from Hairston to draft him high in the first round.  Another season as a starter with Hairston as one of the focal points of the offense should do wonders for his stock.

Hairston was good, sometimes great for the Heels this season, he still wasn’t anywhere near where he could be.  Nobody doubts Hairston’s range and shooters stroke and he’s proven that he’s a terrific rebounder who most of the time plays with the type of energy that’s infectious to his team.  What he has yet to do is show NBA teams that he has more than a jump shot, a trait that will determine if he is a role player or a potential star at the next level.

Hairston is a great athlete with great bounce and finishing ability around the rim, the problem is he rarely penetrates to the basket and relies heavily on his outside shot.  Considering the makeup of the 2012-13 Tar Heels that made sense most of the time, without a true inside threat the half court offense was pretty much centered around the outside shooting of Hairston, Reggie Bullock and Leslie McDonald.   Next season the challenge for P.J. especially if McAdoo departs will be adjusting back to the traditional North Carolina style of play, which means doing more than hoisting up three point shots.

Could P.J. Hairston be an NBA player next season?  Absolutely, should he?  No, plain and simple a move to the NBA would cost him millions of dollars and take away from the development of his skills.  Come on back to Chapel Hill P.J. Hairston!


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Tags: NBA Draft North Carolina Tar Heels P.j. Hairston

  • Jarrod Grant

    No question PJ needs to stay in school another year

  • Tommy

    I grew up in CH in the 60′s and 70′s and at one time I was a die-hard fan. But no more. What has happened to UNC and collegiate athletics in general is truly a sad example of the moral & ethical decline of America. It is happening from the top down and UNC has become a fine example of that. We are being lied to on a grand scale by: 1) the NCAA (which has done virtually nothing despite their charged responsibility to investigate), 2) NC’s political leaders, 3) the university’s administrative leaders, UNC faculty, and participating UNC athlete students. These are all the actors in this absolute fraud on our society. They all are now purposely stonewalling the investigation in order to cover up the truth, avoid prosecution, and to allow the game to continue – all in the name of money. Lies, cheating, and numerous violations of legal, ethical, and moral codes – and the “leaders” are ALL looking the other way. A little slap on the hand for UNC?

    Some recent headlines:
    * “An investigation by the North Carolina Secretary of State has reportedly identified Georgia-based agent Terry Watson as a man who supplied cash to University of North Carolina players.”

    * ESPN: “UNC probe reveals academic fraud”

    * “It only matters that student-athletes were given grades they did
    not earn that either kept or made them eligible to play their sport.
    That by itself makes this Academic Scandal also an Athletic Scandal.”

    * “The State Bureau of Investigation was asked by UNC-Chapel Hill officials
    in May 2012 to determine whether criminal activity may have been a part
    of the misconduct.”

    * “Woodall and the SBI are trying to determine whether Julius Nyang’oro,
    the now-retired head of the Department of African and Afro-American
    Studies, and his administrator, Deborah Crowder, defrauded UNC-Chapel
    Hill by collecting pay for classes that instructors didn’t teach.”

    * “In all, 216 courses in a nine-year span showed “anomalies,” and there
    were no fewer than 454 unauthorized grade changes over an 18-year

    * “Surprise inspections have been taking place across the UNC-Chapel Hill
    campus in recent days as administrators seek to prove that students and
    faculty are, indeed, meeting for their scheduled classes … There may be more than one reason to create a fake class, but at the very top of the list, with a large gap between number one and number two, is the need to keep revenue-generating athletes eligible …”

    ==== ==== ==== ==== ====

    The decline of this once great nation is happening from the top down. And it ain’t just at UNC. It is pervasive at the highest levels of corporate America, on Wall Street, in Washington, and in the major media outlets. We have a propped up stock market, propped up banking system, propped up corporations, politicians that have been bought off by lobbyists, and elections that are being actively manipulated. We live in a fake world.