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Marcus Paige: ‘We’ve moved on. [PJ Hairston]‘s working out with us’

Sep 24, 2013, 9:35 AM EDT

P.J. Hairston AP

What kind of punishment PJ Hairston receives for an offseason’s worth of troubling headlines, run-ins with the law and one reported association with a convicted felon with a penchant for renting nice cars, but what’s clear at this point is that North Carolina will have their leading returning scorer back on the team in 2013-2014.

That became all the more obvious on Monday evening, when ESPN.com reported that Hairston has been practicing with his Tar Heel teammates despite being indefinitely suspended from the program.

“[The distraction] was more of an issue in the summer than it will be going into the season,” sophomore point guard Marcus 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. … We’ve moved on. 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.”

With football season starting and Hairston keeping his nose clean the last two months, Paige is right, he’s become much less of a story than he was over the summer.

But during the summer, Hairston couldn’t have been a bigger thorn in Roy Williams’ side.

Hairston was arrested for driving without a license and possession of marijuana, and while both of those charges were dropped, the NCAA began poking around because he was driving a car that was rented by a convicted felon named Fats Thomas at the time. Hairston had also been pulled over for driving a car rented by a woman that lived with Thomas earlier in the year. He was suspended from the team in July when he was pulled over and cited for reckless driving.

Last month, North Carolina AD Bubba Cunningham told a group of professors that Hairston would play this season but “not all the games“.

  1. kingghidora - Sep 24, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Was there “ever” any doubt. They “moved on” months ago – about 5 minutes after the story stopped being news. What a low life university UNC is.

  2. 5hourspinergy - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    It’s really nice of the NCAA to forget about the free car rentals and all, but shouldn’t they have at least sat him for a half-game?

  3. shafted1 - Sep 25, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Apparently Roy Williams lacks the ability to control the basketball program at UNC. The message has been sent by the university that winning must come at any costs! America has received Coach Williams’ message loud and clear:

    “P.J. Hairston runs the basketball program at the University of North Carolina.”

    Credibility seems to be absent amongst Tar Heels, from the university president on down. Emertt and his gang over at the NCAA jumped on the bandwagon too. Such a sad testament of the state of collegiate sports nowadays.

  4. shrshot - Sep 25, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    So driving w guns and drugs in the car owned by a felon, after getting pulled over in a car owned by the same guys girlfriend, and all the mess about basketball and football players having no-show classes and school employees doing their classwork, and the NCAA doesnt say “boo?” Wow,,, If UNC is helping prove that the NCAA is inept and needs to be brought down, while trying to turn the ACC into the SEC with DumDum Swofford not saying a word either. WOW… just filthy.

  5. shafted1 - Sep 27, 2013 at 1:34 AM

    It is evident that some folks are offended by honest statements pertaining to the athletic program at UNC. I find it amusing that those same folks choose to turn a blind eye to the continued ‘preferential treatment’ they enjoy from the NCAA or the ‘grades for play’ program they’ve maintained for years.

    At least Tar Heels have company with the likes of Ole Miss when it comes to turning a blind eye to arrogant, self-centered thugs. They don’t see a problem with keeping thugs on their respective teams as long as it provides an opportunity to win.

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