Last Friday the Tar Heels began practice for the 2013-2014 season. At last Thursday’s media day when asked about Hairston’s status UNC coach Roy Williams responded, “Hairston has earned the opportunity to practice with the team.”
The nature of Hairston’s is still unclear. All Williams talked about on Thursday were the things Hairston had done to this point to rectify his position on the team.
“PJ has done, to this point, everything he’s been asked to do, and done it with an outstanding attitude and a sense of remorse for his actions which put him in this position. He knows he made a series of mistakes and understands very clearly that he embarrassed his family, our program and the University. But he’s worked hard to get to where he could once again practice with the team.”
Based on the nature of Williams’ statements, it is clear that Hairston will definitely return to the UNC squad at some point this season. Hairston was the Tar Heels leading scorer last season so Williams wouldprobably like him back sooner rather than later.
Hairston was suspended on July 28th after a series of incidents involving motor vehicles this summer.
Hairston’s offseason has been filled with on court discipline. It’s been reported that Hairston has had 18 more conditioning days than any other player on the team.
Hairston is not nearly out of the clear yet though. The NCAA is still investigating Hairston’s relationship with Hadyn “Fats” Thomas. Thomas is a convicted felon whose vehicle Hairston was allegedly driving at the time of his first arrest. It is entirely possible that Williams could clear Hairston to play and then have the NCAA swoop him and suspend him anyway.
Only time will tell how the Hairston situation ultimately play out, but him stepping back on the court last week was definitely a good sign.