Feature: UNC Basketball Player by Player Review: PJ Hairston


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In our  ninth edition of Player by Player Review I’ll take a look at PJ Hairston the Tar Heels freshman. Over the next week or so I’ll take a look at the rest of the UNC roster from top to bottom. What the team needs from each player, who will deliver and how each player fits into the team.  For the first eight parts of the series click HERE

UNC Freshman guard PJ Hairston is a 5 star recruit that like fellow fresh James McAdoo chose UNC despite being relegated to a role off the bench in his first year.  Hairston known for his smooth jumper and handle comes to UNC after being recruited by Roy Williams hard since his junior season.  PJ signed the minute he was eligible, the boy is a true Heel.

Hairston has fulfilled expectations thus far in limited minutes with the Tar Heels averaging just 12.7 minutes per game.  Hairston has but together back to back big games scoring 19 points on South Carolina on 5-8 shooting and putting up 15 in a losing effort to UNLV.  Despite his solid play his minutes have been pretty consistent each game never dipping below 11 or above 15 thus far this season.

Roy Williams has a tough task no doubt with superstar Harrison Barnes and defensive stopper Dexter Strickland starting and Reggie Bullock another 5 star recruit playing solid basketball coming off a season ending injury.  On most if not all other teams in college basketball PJ Hairston would be the starting shooting guard, at the very least the 6th man commanding big minutes.  But this is UNC, the team literally has 8 McDonald’s All Americans and more incoming with each years recruiting class.

After the jump I’ll examine Hairston’s role, what the team needs from him and if he’ll deliver

As I’ve pointed out the Heels need to play Hairston more, the battle for minutes between him and Reggie Bullock will determine how much run he gets ultimately.  The Heels need to find minutes for him, his big 220 pound frame and his ability to keep his opponent in front of him make him maybe the second best perimeter defender on the team.

You’ve got to believe some way, some how Roy Williams will find minutes for this kid who is obviously a stud.   Probably cutting a few of Strickland’s minutes and manuvering the lineup around to fit him whenever someone gets in foul trouble will be something Roy will go to.  UNC didn’t hit near as many 3’s as they needed last night against a UNLV team that was lighting it up from beyond the arc.  With plenty of talented players that can get to the rim and big men that can draw attention there is no reason the Heels can’t find better looks for players like Hairston.  Look for Roy to get on the boys hard to feed the post and attack the basket looking for open spot up shooters in the process, working inside out.

Once the half court offense clicks it will be tailor made for PJ

Once the Heels get their act together, start swinging the ball more and stop acting like they can dance around with the ball and beat anyone they face just because they are better.  You know when they play better team basketball and someone other than Kendall Marshall passes the ball and works the offense, Hairston is going to be a huge contributor.

If you can’t tell already I’m a big time PJ Hairston fan, I think he’s going to play a big role and ultimately become the sixth man of this team (combined with McAdoo, PJ as the first small off the pine).  He will absoltely deliver and I think he will be the team’s best 3 point shooter, even better than Mr. Barnes.

We may be looking at the next Wayne Ellington…..only with some bulk and a defensive game.

Keep It Heel!

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