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Why You Might Know Him
P.J. Hairston was the leading scorer for the North Carolina Tar Heels during his sophomore year of college. He averaged 14.6 points per game, which led UNC and ranked 12th in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Hairston made headlines in July 2013, when he was suspended from the Tar Heels basketball team for off-court issues. The team chose not to reinstate him, so he made the rare jump from collegiate star to the NBA Development League.
If you’re drafting P.J. Hairston, you’re drafting offense. This kid can score the rock. Hairston was the leading scorer for one of the top collegiate programs in the country, UNC, as a sophomore. He was poised to average 16-20 points per game as a junior before off-court issues caused him to be suspended from the team, which eventually pushed him to enter the NBA Development League. The off-court issues were troublesome, but those close to Hairston, and Hairston himself, claim that he has learned his lesson. Reports also claim that he was stellar in his Combine interviews with teams in taking ownership of his mistakes and proving that he has learned from them. On the court, he was an elite offensive weapon for the Texas Legends. He ranked fourth in the D-League in scoring with 21.8 PPG. He has almost unlimited range. He finished the season with a true shooting percentage of 60.4 percent, which would be an elite mark in the NBA. Hairston is very good at using screens to get open and then making that open shot. That's a great skill to have in the pros. He oftentimes falls in love with the 3 despite his ability to finish through contact around the basket. Would love to see him implement a midrange game to complement his deep shooting range and ability to finish around the hoop. Hairston has a prototypical 2-guard body. He’s 6-foot-5 with decent length. He’s built a lot like James Harden. Hairston has shown that he can be an effective defender when he wants to be. Many clips show him fighting hard through screens, staying tight to his man and recovering well. However, there are also clips that show him being disinterested or lost defensively. Hairston’s handle can also be loose at times, leading to poor passes or turnovers. His assist-to-turnover ratio of 0.46-to-1 with the Legends is about as poor as it gets. If he can fix that and is coupled with coach who can bring the best out of him at all times, that team will be getting a player who can make an impact.
Hairston is a North Carolina guy, born and raised. He was born on Dec. 24, 1992 in Greensboro, N.C. and went on to play his first three seasons of high school ball at nearby Dudley High. After committing to the University of North Carolina, Hairston chose to play the final year of his high school career at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va. He finished his high school career by scoring 15 points during the 2011 McDonald’s All-American game. Hairston went on to UNC but did not make a major impact during his freshman season. He played just 13.0 minutes per game while averaging 5.7 PPG. Hairston played a much larger role as a sophomore and wound up leading the team in scoring with an average of 14.6 PPG. He shot 39.6 percent from long range that season. Hairston was poised to be the go-to man for UNC as a junior but those aspirations never became reality. He was suspended from the team in July of 2013 and the program announced in December that it would not seek to reinstate him to the team. Hairston accepted the judgment and went on to enter the 2014 NBA Development League Draft. The Texas Legends chose him with the No. 1 pick, and Hairston went on to average 21.8 PPG on 45.3 percent shooting from the field, 35.8 percent shooting from long range and 87.0 percent shooting from the free-throw line during his lone D-League season.