P.J. Hairston speaks: 'I'll be on the court' this season

By Matt Norlander | Staff Writer

No hyperbole: Every week brings more news regarding P.J. Hairston and North Carolina. It is a genuine cycle -- now a staple -- of 2013 offseason college basketball news. On this Tuesday we can pass along information that's not exactly revelatory, but still positive for Tar Heels fans.

Hairston is confident in knowing he'll be on the court next season. We've heard this notion before, specifically from the athletic director at UNC, who said as much to Carolina faculty nearly two weeks ago. Hairston was arrested on June 5 in a traffic stop with two other passengers, cited for drug possession. Hairston was also without a valid license. Charges have since been dropped.

Hairston had two other traffic stops this offseason, the first in May and the most recent in late July, after his charges from the June 5 arrest were dropped. It was the third stop, a citation for reckless driving after reportedly doing 93 MPH in a 65 MPH zone, that landed him the indefinite suspension from UNC coach Roy Williams.

Hairston spoke to the Daily Tar Heel Monday night. He was on campus and playing alone on an outdoor basketball court.

"Yeah, I'll be on the court," he said. "I'm not sure how long I'll have to sit out. I haven't found out yet, but whatever it is I'm ready for it."
UNC team spokesman Steve Kirschner said there is no update on Hairston's playing status.
"I just have to prepare myself mentally," he said. "Just try to keep myself around positive people for the most part, then just having someone in my ear talking to me and giving me advice. But other than that, I've just been trying to stay positive."

At least it's something from Hairston, right? To this point he's, as expected, been pretty mum. UNC will be a preseason top-25 team in most people's prognostications, but Hairston's situation and uncertain suspension leaves plenty to speculate. Williams has given no indication on when terms of the suspension will be announced.

As for the first two citations referenced above, Hairston was reportedly driving rental cars tied to an ex-convict named Haydn "Fats" Thomas. Despite the publicity around Hairston and Thomas' past, UNC and the NCAA had not attempted to formally reach out to Thomas, according to the most recent reports.

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