Posted: 10:36 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013
By Brian Barbour
A little news on the P.J. Hairston front. Sophomore point guard Marcus Paige has told ESPN that Hairston is back working out with the team.
"It was more of an issue in the summer than it will be going into the season," Paige told ESPN.com. "He's in good shape right now, and I think he's in a good place and is ready to move on."
Hairston, the team's leading returning scorer, was suspended in July following a turbulent offseason. Charges of marijuana possession and driving without a license were dropped. However, the NCAA was looking into Hairston's relationship with convicted felon Haydn "Fats" Thomas, who had rented the car Hairston was driving at the time of his June arrest.
Hairston also was cited for reckless and careless driving in July, and was subsequently suspended indefinitely.
"We've moved on," Paige said. "He's working out with us, and we still accept him. It was a big deal in the media, but we're pretty confident everyone has moved past it. We can't wait to get him back -- whenever it is."
This is not wholly unexpected though I am certain there will be a few people screaming that Hairston's suspension was meaningless. Those people would also have zero clue as to what kind of team activities Hairston has missed or other types of discipline may have been handed down since the Rowan County Joyride(t-shirts still available!)
Everyone knows Hairston will serve some sort of suspension of games for the Summer of P.J., Tar Heel AD Bubba Cunningham has publicly said as much. Since it is assumed Hairston will play this season, he should probably be working out with the team in the preseason. The real meat is in how many games he will miss and that apparently hasn't been worked out with the various parties involved.
The situation with Hairston has also reached a "no news is good news" stage. Obviously if a suspension comes down that wouldn't be good news except it would mark an end to the saga. Outside of that, the media digging hasn't produced any additional revelations about Hairston. He almost has all his legal matters wrapped up and we haven't heard anything else about parking tickets, rental cars or hanging out with a party planner in Durham. With the seasons tarting in roughly six weeks, assuming UNC and the NCAA everything that needs to be known, a resolution can't be far off.