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Haydn ‘Fats’ Thomas, P.J. Hairston back in the headlines (UPDATE)

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Josh Gordon, a standout receiver for the Cleveland Browns and the guy that made my fantasy football season quite lucrative last year, was arrested over the weekend for a DWI after he blew a .09 during a traffic stop for speeding early Saturday morning.

That has nothing to do with college basketball.

What does, however, is the guy that bailed him out of jail: Haydn ‘Fats’ Thomas.

You remember him, right?

He was the convicted felon at the center of all of the P.J. Hairston drama last summer, which eventually got the first round pick of the Charlotte Hornets kicked out of the UNC program. It was an SUV rented by Thomas that Hairston was riding in when, at a police checkpoint, more than 40 grams of marijuana and a handgun were discovered. Back in 2012, it was a Camaro rented by Thomas that Hairston was driving when he was pulled over for speeding. That same Camaro racked up a boatload of parking tickets on the UNC campus that summer.

It gets better.

The car that Gordon was driving at the time that he was arrested? A 2015 Cadillac Escalade registered to … P.J. Hairston.

Coincidentally enough, Hairston was also involved in his own legal matter this weekend.

Kentrell Barkley, a mid-major recruit and rising senior at Northern Durham HS, got into a physical altercation with Hairston while playing pickup at a local YMCA on Sunday. Barkley claims that he was sucker-punched twice by Hairston, whose agent told ESPN.com that Barkley swung on his client first. Barkley says that he filed a police report and that his claims will be substantiated by a video the YMCA has of the incident.


UPDATE (12:15 p.m.): P.J. Hairston has reportedly been charged assault and battery as a result of the incident.

Report: Suspended Jerome Hairston leaves Towson

(Towson Media Relations)
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Towson and point guard Jerome Hairston have officially parted ways, according to a report from ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

The 6-foot-3 sophomore was a member of the CAA all-rookie team after averaging 9.9 points as a freshman, but he was suspended back in late-November for the dreaded violation of team rules.

“We have suspended Jerome for conduct detrimental to the team,” said head coach Pat Skerry in a release at the time. “The suspension is effective immediately and no other statements will be issued.”

He had only played five games this season.

Could P.J. Hairston opt for the D-League this season?

La Salle v Ole Miss

Although former North Carolina guard P.J. Hairston will no longer play for the Tar Heels after last week’s announcement from the University that they wouldn’t seek his re-instatement from the NCAA, the 6-foot-5 junior guard still has options to play basketball this season, including playing in the NBA’s Developmental League.

According to a story from Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, Hairston would be eligible to immediately play in the D-League if a team were interested in signing him. Bonnell spoke with a D-League spokesperson to clarify the rules as they pertain to Hairston:

According to D-League spokesperson Joanna Shapiro, if a player is ruled ineligible by the NCAA (as Hairston was) and he’s at least 18 and his high school class has graduated (applicable), he’s eligible to sign a D-League contract.

Shapiro added that once a player signs a pro contract, D-League or otherwise, he immediately becomes eligible for the NBA draft the following spring.

While it is likely that Hairston will enter next June’s NBA Draft, the guard can now weigh the option to become a professional basketball player immediately in the D-League to prepare for the draft, if he so chooses.

If Hairston were to pursue a stint in the D-League, he wouldn’t be the first dismissed college player to make the jump to the D-League before entering the NBA Draft. Former Georgia Tech forward Glen Rice Jr. entered the 2012 D-League draft in November of that year following his dismissal from Georgia Tech in March of 2012 and went on to become a second-round pick — 35th overall — in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Rice Jr. helped lead the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to the D-League title in his one season in the league while averaging 29 points, 11.5 rebounds, four assists, three steals and 3.5 blocks in the D-League Finals and also significantly boosting his NBA Draft stock in the process.

Hairston wouldn’t play a full season in the D-League like Rice Jr. — since it is already in the middle of the season — but P.J. could get back in game shape and show NBA scouts that he is talented enough — and mature enough — to warrant a selection in next June’s draft.

No decision has been made on Hairston’s future since the family released a statement last Friday.