P.J. Hairston is returning to North Carolina.
The Charlotte Hornets have selected former Tar Heel guard P.J. Hairston 26th in the first round of the NBA Draft. The Hornets originally had the 24th picked and selected UConn's Shabazz Napier but then traded that pick to the Miami Heat for the 26th selection and a second round pick. Hairston, who spent last season with the Texas Legends of the NBA's D-League, becomes the 46th Tar Heel selected in the first round of the NBA Draft and the 15th in the Roy Williams era. Hairston is also the first player to be taken in the first round out of the D-League.
Hairston was set to have a breakout season for UNC as a junior but saw his college career derailed by a series of missteps on his part which included taking improper benefits in the form of rental cars. While the full details of Hairston's improper benefits were never revealed, UNC's choice to not seek his reinstatement from the NCAA would indicate they were excessive. Hairston ended up in the D-League with the Texas Legends averaging 21.7 ppg and hitting 35% of his threes.
Hairston is a nice fit for the Hornets who were in need of a shooter. Hairston joins Indiana's Noah Vonleh as Charlotte's two first round picks.
UPDATE: UNC releases statement
Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat selected former University of North Carolina guard P.J. Hairston with the 26th pick in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft.
The Heat reportedly then traded Hairston in a multi-player deal to the Charlotte Hornets, pending NBA approval.
Hairston scored 707 points in 71 games for the Tar Heels in 2011-12 and 2012-13. He played last season for the Texas Legends in the NBA Development League.
As a sophomore, Hairston led the Tar Heels in scoring at 14.6 points per game and made 89 three-pointers, the second-highest single-season figure in UNC history. In two collegiate seasons, Hairston averaged 10.0 points, shot 34.9 percent from three-point range and 80 percent from the free throw line.
The Greensboro, N.C., native scored a career-high 29 points against Virginia in 2013 and 28 against Miami in the 2013 ACC championship game, making a career-best six three-pointers in each of those games.
Hairston is the 15th Tar Heel to play for head coach Roy Williams and be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.
Overall, he is the 46th first round pick from UNC and the 107th Tar Heel taken in any round in NBA Draft history.
“I am ecstatic for P.J.,” says Tar Heel head coach Roy Williams. “I think he’s going to be a great addition to the Hornets. I am happy that he will still play in state and for another Tar Heel, Michael Jordan. It certainly will make it easier to see him play. Life has given him another opportunity and he will take great advantage of that chance.”