Inside Carolina has confirmed through P.J. Hairston's mother Wendy Mailey that the Greensboro sophomore will return for his junior year.
Mailey told IC that her son’s decision was made with the counsel of his immediate family. She also provided a quote from Hairston detailing his decision.
"I have spent a lot of time with my family over the past couple of days discussing school and my future, and I have finally decided today to return to the University of North Carolina for my junior year," Hairston said. "I value the experiences I have had over the past two years in Chapel Hill, and hope to continue to grow under Coach Roy’s guidance. Coach always says ‘when you focus on the team during the season, he will support us in the offseason’ - this is my way of supporting coach, my teammates and the Tar Heel community. Go Heels!"
Mailey also provided her thoughts on her son’s decision to return.
"Throughout this process, it has been amazing to watch P.J. utilize the values we have taught him," she said. "I am proud that he took the initiative to weigh the impact of short-term gratification versus long-term success to come to his decision to stay in school. I’ve watched him continually mature and learn from each lesson he has been faced with over the past two years. And now, his commitment to furthering his education, and to his coach and teammates, further exemplify his growth."
This confirms the initial report from this past Sunday that Hairston would return. This announcement, coming directly from the family and not UNC raises some interesting questions. For one, UNC usually announces players' intentions not the family or the player himself which is the case here. There is also the matter of Roy Williams previous statement that all three decisions would be announced at the same time. WRAL's Jeff Gravley tweeted last night that James Michael McAdoo's decision would be delayed due to the death of his grandmother. It is possible that changed the overall plan for how these decisions would be announced or only Hairston is ready to announce.
At any rate, getting Hairston back is the most important piece of the three. He is the best player in the trio and will be in the conversation for All-ACC and ACC Player of the Year. Of course it would help Hairston to have both McAdoo and Reggie Bullock back so the defenses don't simply key on him. If that doesn't happen, I still like Hairston's chances for having a huge season.