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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.

P.J. Hairston’s UNC career comes to an end as the school will not apply for his reinstatement


When it was announced prior to North Carolina’s game against Texas on Wednesday night that senior guard Leslie McDonald was eligible to play, many wondered when there would be a decision regarding the status of junior guard P.J. Hairston. However unlike McDonald, North Carolina had yet to apply for reinstatement on Hairston’s behalf, instead continuing to evaluate his case.

On Friday the school announced that it has made the decision to not take that step, and as a result Hairston’s career at North Carolina has come to an end.

“Unfortunately P.J. made a number of mistakes that placed his eligibility at risk and the University’s joint review with the NCAA made it clear that seeking reinstatement for P.J. would not be possible,” director of athletics Bubba Cunningham said in the release. “The University thanks him for his contributions to Carolina Basketball.

“We also want to thank Coach Williams for the way in which he has held the team together over the early stages of this season despite not having two veteran players and for the level of care and concern he has for the young men on his team,” continued Cunningham. “We are glad that Leslie McDonald was reinstated and look forward to watching his Tar Heel teammates and him compete the rest of this season.”

In two seasons at North Carolina Hairston averaged 10.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, scoring a team-high 14.6 points per game as a sophomore. With Reggie Bullock moving on to the professional ranks Hairston was expected to be a major piece for the Tar Heels thanks to his scoring ability. But thanks to a series of missteps off the court Hairston found himself suspended indefinitely.

Hairston did what head coach Roy Williams required of him punishment-wise and was able to regain his spot on the roster, but doing that and convincing the NCAA that he should be eligible to play are two entirely different things. North Carolina came to that conclusion, and on Friday they announced that they’ll be moving forward with the players they currently have.

“Since summer, P.J. has been outstanding with our basketball program and with his schoolwork. He went through an extremely intense conditioning program with flying colors,” Williams said of Hairston in the statement. “He has been called a ‘perfect teammate’ by one of our other players. He has dominated our practices and at times has been as good as any perimeter player I have ever coached, giving great effort to help our team. He cares deeply about Carolina and the basketball program.

“P.J. has learned from this experience and will continue to grow as a player and adult. I will support him and help him as much as I possibly can as he enters this next phase of his life and basketball career.”

North Carolina hosts Davidson on Saturday afternoon. The Tar Heels have relied on sophomore Marcus Paige for much of their perimeter scoring through ten games, J.P. Tokoto has shown signs of improvement and the return of McDonald should give them another scorer as the season wears on. If anything, the fact that they’ve already played ten games without Hairston means that the Heels have already been getting used to not having him on the floor.

Leslie McDonald has been cleared, while reports say P.J. Hairston unlikely to play this season

Leslie McDonald, P.J. Hairston

On Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA announced that North Carolina guard Leslie McDonald had been cleared, effective immediately. He missed nine games and will have to pay $1,783 to the charity of his choice for receiving impressible benefits.

Sources informed Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports McDonald was expected to be cleared, but the source was also said that P.J. Hairston is unlikely to play a game this season for the Tar Heels, according to the source.

In the statement the NCAA released on Wednesday, the last line read, “At this time, McDonald’s reinstatement request is the only one the NCAA has received from North Carolina.” That doesn’t offer much optimism for Hairston, who led the Tar Heels in scoring last season.

Hairston had a well-documented summer. He was pulled over twice by the police, both times he was driving vehicles rented by Fats Thomas, a convicted felon, who last month reached a plea deal for a previous arrest.

In July, Hairston was pulled over by authorities and cited with reckless driving. It was shortly thereafter that he was suspended indefinitely from the team.

McDonald averaged 7.2 points per game last season for the Tar Heels. Hairston, who elected to return to Chapel Hill for his junior season, could declare for the NBA draft a source told Yahoo Sports.

John Henson is not happy about the way the NCAA is handling the P.J. Hairston case

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John Henson does not appear to be a fan of the NCAA.

He’s in the NBA now, making millions as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, which makes it seem like a strange time to lash out like this until you consider the plight of his former teammates, P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald.

North Carolina’s two wings are still waiting to hear word from the NCAA about what their punishment will be for offseason transgressions. Hairston was twice found to be driving new luxury cars that were rented for him by a convicted felon. The NCAA hasn’t been clear on what the issue is for McDonald, but there was a customized mouthguard company that was using McDonald on its website as recently as this summer.

Henson has voiced his displeasure over the situation already on social media: