Caulton Tudor

Hairston could be difference between top seed, .500 finish for Tar Heels

Posted August 2, 2013

— When North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams put embarrassing junior forward P.J. Hairston on indefinite suspension earlier this week, it was the strongest indication yet that the Tar Heels 2013-14 season could be as unpredictable as Hairston’s eventful summer.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder from Greensboro has been in and out of trouble since May but was the offensive leader on last season’s 25-11 (12-6 ACC) team averaging 14.6 points and converting a team-high 89 three-point shots.

Although the details of Hairston’s relationship with Durham resident Haydn (Fats) Thomas haven’t yet been clarified, there seem to be three distinct end-game possibilities for his availability to the team in the coming season. Here’s the breakdown:

SCENARIO 1: Hairston plays the entire season

This is the least likely but obviously the most optimal outcome in terms of wins and losses.

In a likely lineup with James Michael McAdoo, Marcus Paige, Leslie McDonald and Brice Johnson – plus five or six additional contributors – Hairston and the Tar Heels would be a national top 10 team and probably the ACC’s best.

By far, Duke’s the popular pick. But don’t forget the Blue Devils lost their three top scorers (Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly) and will have to forge a new offense, not to mention a new chemistry, around transfer Rodney Hood, freshman Jabari Parker and returnee Andre Dawkins.

If the Heels could have Hairston for the entire run, they would be my preseason league favorite over Duke, Syracuse and Notre Dame and a near lock for a No. 1 NCAA regional seed.

SCENARIO 2: Hairston is suspended for 10-14 games

This would be a situation marginally similar to last season, when Hairston really didn’t emerge as a consistent force until the final 15 or so games.

But unlike a year ago, there would be no Reggie Bullock around to shore up the perimeter offense unless McDonald (36 percent on 3s last season) surfaces as a first-team all-conference candidate.

If Hairston were to sit out 10 games, he’d be back in time for the entire ACC schedule but wouldn’t play against Louisville (Nov. 24), Michigan State (Dec. 4), Kentucky (Dec. 14), Texas (Dec. 18) and Davidson (Dec. 21).

But should a suspension extend to 14 games – or more – he would start to miss conference play. The impact of a 10-14 game penalty would likely do a great deal of harm to the team’s NCAA fate and certainly its seeding.

Williams would still have a lot of options with Johnson, J.P. Tokoto, Joel James, Jackson Simmons and Desmond Hubert, in addition to newcomers Nate Britt, Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks.

But with Hairston sitting for such a prolonged period, there would be a chemistry adjustment upon his return and the 25-win total of last season virtually impossible to match.

A reasonable projection would be an 11-7 ACC record and 20-10 overall.

SCENARIO 3: Hairston doesn’t play in 2013-14

It is  very possible that Williams' patience has reached an end and Hairston won't see the court at all this season.

At best, Hairston has made enough irrational decisions to become an ongoing problem for the school and the program. At worst, he’s a perpetual dumpster arsonist whose potential for mayhem is limitless in and outside the locker room.

Clearly, the Tar Heels could be a second-division ACC team without his perimeter shooting and offensive rebounding abilities.

On the other hand, Williams eventually will return the Heels to an inside-oriented offensive attack, and the loss of Hairston for the entire season would jump-start that process.

Hairston’s sudden emergence as a dynamic scorer late last season lifted the team but it also blurred the mural.

UNC's strong finish – 6-1 to end the regular season – overshadowed the fact that Heels failed to score 70 or more points 10 times, were held to 53 by Duke in the final regular-season game and needed overtime to defeat hapless Virginia Tech, 72-60, in Chapel Hill.

Why? There was no inside scoring punch, which has been the program’s passport to big winning for the past half century.

Like all teams, UNC needs perimeter shooters, but Williams understands better than anyone that offenses function best when they operate on a inside-first foundation.

Without Hairston for an entire season, the Heels would have the look of a 9-9 ACC, 18-12 overall team but the low-post rebuilding process could start one season ahead of schedule.

120 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Hammerhead Aug 5, 2013

    View quoted thread


    I only follow football closely. Can't help but follow basketball, but I don't watch a lot of the games. Sports is largely white noise from Feb to Sept. I have too many other things to do. And that model is a full time job.

  • StunGunn Aug 4, 2013

    View quoted thread


    Good for you, Hammer! Hope you have some left in the tank after your fall of super model frolicking, because college basketball gets really hot in the winter/spring:-)

  • Hammerhead Aug 4, 2013

    View quoted thread


    I save my passion for Saturdays and Sundays in the fall. And my 25 year old super model girlfriend.

  • jeff727 Aug 4, 2013

    With PJ ..UNC finished in the top 25 last season right? Nope...and Kennedy Meeks coming to Chapel Hill is like the arrival of the Kool-aid man. He is an out of shape slob.

  • zachluffman Aug 3, 2013

    Without PJ we have exactly 2 wing players on the scholarship roster. One who's a three point specialist, the other a dunk specialist. That's scary. If either of them got hurt, the lineups would be laughable.

  • StunGunn Aug 3, 2013

    View quoted thread


    So true, Hammer. A sense of humor is what gets me through life. What I find even more hilarious is posters who take themselves SO seriously, they don't even know when the joke is on them.

  • Hammerhead Aug 3, 2013

    View quoted thread


    Thanks Gunny, some of us have a sense of humor. The angst/venom/seriousness generated on these message boards (anonymously no less) is what I find funny.

  • VT1994Hokie Aug 2, 2013

    Some statements supporting PJ and Roy are totally elementary at best.

  • heelsforever Aug 2, 2013

    Hmmm, wonder how he figured out that PJ was a key to this season. That's some right smart gozentas there.

  • mac240 Aug 2, 2013

    What difference does it make...Roy has Kansas season tickets!

More...

 

 

Listen & Watch
  • HighSchoolOT Live

    Friday at 7:00 pm on WRAL-2

  • NFL: Oakland @ Washington

    Friday at 8:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Football Friday

    Friday at 11:35 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Golf: President’s Cup

    Saturday at 8:00 am on WRAL-TV

  • Logan Zone

    Sunday at 11:00 am on WRAL-TV

  • Golf: President’s Cup

    Sunday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Indianapolis @ Seattle

    Sunday at 8:20 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC Football: Duke @ Virginia

    Saturday, Oct. 7 at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • The Dave Doeren Show

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

AP Top 25
Fri, Sept 29
14
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
Preview
5
7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET2:30 GMT10:30 北京时间7:30 MST9:30 EST
Preview
16
Sat, Sept 30
18
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
21
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
10
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
17
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
4
7
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
2:00 PT3:00 MT4:00 CT5:00 ET9:00 GMT5:00 北京时间2:00 MST4:00 EST
22
24
3:00 PT4:00 MT5:00 CT6:00 ET10:00 GMT6:00 北京时间3:00 MST5:00 EST
13
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
25
11
4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET11:30 GMT7:30 北京时间4:30 MST6:30 EST
6
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
15
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
2
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
12
6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST
1
7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET2:30 GMT10:30 北京时间7:30 MST9:30 EST
19
NFL Scoreboard
Thursday, Sep. 28
Chicago 5:25 PT6:25 MT7:25 CT8:25 ET0:25 GMT8:25 5:25 MST7:25 EST7:25 CT4:25 UAE (+1)20:25 ETNaN:�
Green Bay 
Sunday, Oct. 1
New Orleans 6:30 PT7:30 MT8:30 CT9:30 ET13:30 GMT21:30 6:30 MST8:30 EST8:30 CT17:30 UAE9:30 ETNaN:�
Miami 
Buffalo 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Atlanta 
Pittsburgh 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Baltimore 
Cincinnati 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Cleveland 
LA Rams 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Dallas 
Tennessee 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Houston 
Detroit 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Minnesota 
Carolina 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
New England 
Jacksonville 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
NY Jets 
San Francisco 1:05 PT2:05 MT3:05 CT4:05 ET20:05 GMT4:05 1:05 MST3:05 EST3:05 CT0:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ETNaN:�
Arizona 
Philadelphia 1:05 PT2:05 MT3:05 CT4:05 ET20:05 GMT4:05 1:05 MST3:05 EST3:05 CT0:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ETNaN:�
LA Chargers 
NY Giants 1:05 PT2:05 MT3:05 CT4:05 ET20:05 GMT4:05 1:05 MST3:05 EST3:05 CT0:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ETNaN:�
Tampa Bay 
Oakland 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Denver 
Indianapolis 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:�
Seattle 
Monday, Oct. 2
Washington 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:�
Kansas City 
NHL Preseason
NY Rangers 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 MST6:00 EST3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Philadelphia 
St. Louis 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 MST6:00 EST3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Columbus 
Tampa Bay 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 MST6:30 EST3:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Florida 
Minnesota 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Dallas 
Los Angeles 7:00 PT8:00 MT9:00 CT10:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 MST9:00 EST6:00 UAE (+1)22:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Vegas 
MLB Scoreboard
Interleague
Baltimore 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 MST6:05 EST6:35 VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 CT
Preview
Pittsburgh 
American League
Tampa Bay04:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 MST6:05 EST6:35 VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 CT
Preview
NY Yankees0
Toronto04:10 PT5:10 MT6:10 CT7:10 ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 MST6:10 EST6:40 VEN3:10 UAE (+1)6:10 CT
Preview
Boston0
Minnesota04:10 PT5:10 MT6:10 CT7:10 ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 MST6:10 EST6:40 VEN3:10 UAE (+1)6:10 CT
Preview
Cleveland0
Houston 5:05 PT6:05 MT7:05 CT8:05 ET20:05 ET0:05 GMT8:05 5:05 MST7:05 EST7:35 VEN4:05 UAE (+1)7:05 CT
Preview
Texas 
LA Angels 5:10 PT6:10 MT7:10 CT8:10 ET20:10 ET0:10 GMT8:10 5:10 MST7:10 EST7:40 VEN4:10 UAE (+1)7:10 CT
Preview
Chi White Sox 
Detroit 5:15 PT6:15 MT7:15 CT8:15 ET20:15 ET0:15 GMT8:15 5:15 MST7:15 EST7:45 VEN4:15 UAE (+1)7:15 CT
Preview
Kansas City 
Seattle 7:05 PT8:05 MT9:05 CT10:05 ET22:05 ET2:05 GMT10:05 7:05 MST9:05 EST9:35 VEN6:05 UAE (+1)9:05 CT
Preview
Oakland 
National League
Washington04:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 MST6:05 EST6:35 VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 CT
Preview
Philadelphia0
Atlanta04:10 PT5:10 MT6:10 CT7:10 ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 MST6:10 EST6:40 VEN3:10 UAE (+1)6:10 CT
Preview
NY Mets0
Cincinnati 4:40 PT5:40 MT6:40 CT7:40 ET19:40 ET23:40 GMT7:40 4:40 MST6:40 EST7:10 VEN3:40 UAE (+1)6:40 CT
Preview
Milwaukee 
Chi Cubs05:15 PT6:15 MT7:15 CT8:15 ET20:15 ET0:15 GMT8:15 5:15 MST7:15 EST7:45 VEN4:15 UAE (+1)7:15 CT
Preview
St. Louis0
Miami 5:40 PT6:40 MT7:40 CT8:40 ET20:40 ET0:40 GMT8:40 5:40 MST7:40 EST8:10 VEN4:40 UAE (+1)7:40 CT
Preview
Colorado 
San Francisco 6:40 PT7:40 MT8:40 CT9:40 ET21:40 ET1:40 GMT9:40 6:40 MST8:40 EST9:10 VEN5:40 UAE (+1)8:40 CT
Preview
Arizona 
San Diego 7:10 PT8:10 MT9:10 CT10:10 ET22:10 ET2:10 GMT10:10 7:10 MST9:10 EST9:40 VEN6:10 UAE (+1)9:10 CT
Preview
LA Dodgers 
Minor League Baseball
International League
Memphis 4:07 PT5:07 MT6:07 CT7:07 ET12:07 GMT
Durham 
Evian Champ (LPGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1A. Nordqvist - z-9F
2B. Altomare - y-9F
3tM. Jutanugarn-8F
3tK. Kirk-8F
3tL. Ko-8F
6tS. Feng-7F
6tS. Kim-7F
8J. Song-6F
9M. Lee-5F
10tG. Hall-4F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
ATP Scoreboard
Tuesday, Sep. 26
Chengdu Open (ATP)
First Round
Y. Lu6 6    
M. Ymer2 3    
D. Lajovic6 77    
A. Menendez-M3 63    
(6) K. Edmund6 6    
B. Tomic4 2    
D. Istomin6 77    
J. Struff3 63    
M. Baghdatis64 77 6   
V. Pospisil77 65 4   
(7) V. Troicki3 6 2   
N. Basilashvi6 2 6   
G. Pella6 77    
B. Coric4 62    
 
Shenzhen Open (ATP)
First Round
M. Jaziri4 6 3   
M. Copil6 3 6   
(7) J. Sousa3 0    
H. Laaksonen6 6    
(5) A. Dolgopolov6 6    
L. Harris3 4    
N. Kicker3 3    
S. Stakhovsky6 6    
M. Granollers3 4    
L. Lacko6 6    
R. Dutra Silv4 1    
Z. Zhang6 6    
(8) D. Young7 77    
N. Kuhn5 64    
E. Donskoy3 6 77   
A. Santillan6 2 65   
 
WTA Scoreboard
Tuesday, Sep. 26
Wuhan Open (WTA)
Second Round
(9) A. Radwanska7 7    
J. Goerges5 5    
(6) S. Kuznetsova3 3    
A. Cornet6 6    
E. Makarova6 6    
L. Davis2 4    
C. McHale1 1    
C. Garcia6 6    
(3) K. Pliskova6 3 6   
S. Zhang4 6 4   
S. Cirstea3 3    
Q. Wang6 6    
K. Bertens4 4    
V. Lepchenko6 6    
(8) J. Ostapenko2 7 6   
B. Strycova6 5 3   
(2) S. Halep2 1    
D. Kasatkina6 6    
(7) D. Cibulkova6 6    
J. Teichmann2 2    
(16) E. Vesnina6 6    
E. Mertens2 4    
M. Linette6 6    
K. Siniakova1 2    
S. Peng6 3 4   
M. Puig4 6 6   
(4) C. Wozniacki5 3    
M. Sakkari7 6    
(1) G. Muguruza6 6    
L. Tsurenko4 4    
 
Tashkent Open (WTA)
First Round
(3) T. Maria6 6    
V. Diatchenko3 1    
J. Cepelova2 6 6   
T. Martincova6 0 2   
N. Abduraimov1 1    
K. Nara6 6    
(1) K. Pliskova77 64 6   
S. Hsieh63 77 4   
(7) N. Hibino6 6    
I. Khromachev3 2    
A. Sabalenka6 6    
E. Rodina2 2    
(2) T. Babos6 6    
J. Larsson1 1    
(6) A. Krunic77 6    
R. Hogenkamp65 0