North Carolina

List of current, former UNC players tied to convicted felon growing

Posted July 23, 2013

— Haydn "Fats" Thomas, the Durham man at the center of the rental car controversy involving University of North Carolina basketball player PJ Hairston, has connections to even more current and former Tar Heels athletes.

Documents and social media posts tie Thomas, a convicted felon and party promoter, to current UNC basketball player Leslie McDonald, former basketball players John Henson, Dexter Strickland and Harrison Barnes and former UNC football player Greg Little.

The university issued a cease and desist letter last week ordering Iceberg Holdings to remove any marketing images of McDonald showcasing a designer mouthguard after becoming aware that the company was using images of McDonald wearing the high-end mouth piece.

Spencer Howard, an oral surgeon in Durham, is one of the founders of Iceberg Holdings. Howard is a UNC dental school graduate. He and Thomas are cousins and business partners.

More connections between 'Fats', UNC players found Sims: More connections between 'Fats', UNC players found

Thomas first made news in June after rental vehicles driven by PJ Hairston were traced back to his address.

Hairston and two others were arrested at a traffic checkpoint in Durham June 5 when police found marijuana in their vehicle. Hairston was also charged with driving without a license. All charges against Hairston have since been dropped, but the other two men each face one misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana.

Thomas also knows McDonald personally.

The two were seen together in a photograph posted to Facebook at a club party, along with Henson.

And the connections continue.

On his Twitter account last year, McDonald tweeted about a cell phone he got from Thomas. He said in the Tweet, "yeah all I did is restore it and activated it."

Also, WRAL found McDonald was pulled over July 4 for speeding. He was driving a 2012 Chevy Malibu owned by a man who told WRAL he does odd jobs for Thomas. He said he let McDonald borrow the Malibu because McDonald is a friend.

Thomas told WRAL he barely knows any of these UNC basketball players, calling them “passing acquaintances.” But, on Thomas' Facebook page, WRAL found another UNC connection - Thomas is friends with former Tar Heels basketball player Barnes.

Even more Twitter posts from a now-deleted account show Thomas has relationships with former Duke wide receiver Desmond Scott and former Durham Riverside stand out Weslye Saunders

Already a convicted felon, Thomas currently faces drug and weapon charges stemming from an arrest in December. That case has piqued the interest of the US Attorney's office.

While the rental cars driven by Hairston raise the possibility of NCAA violations, the other connections to Thomas may not. They do, however, raise questions about a convicted felon's ties to former and current UNC basketball players.

In a statement Tuesday, a UNC spokesperson said, “All of our coaches, including Coach Williams, talk to their teams on a regular basis about making good choices and good decisions in all aspects of their lives, not just athletically but academically and socially. Coach Williams has often said that he is not just coaching for wins and losses, but to develop outstanding young men who make positive impacts around campus and in the community. And his teams’ track record over 25 years as a head coach has shown that to be the case on and off the court. Coach Williams has and will continue to stress to our students the importance of making those good choices and decisions.”

140 Comments

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  • JACKSON THIS IS OUR STATE SAWYER Nov 5, 3:00 p.m.

    UNC keeps throwing stuff against the wall and it doesn't stick-- lance thomas- nothin there but that doesn't stop the fans running their mouths about it.!!

  • olivechapel1000 Jul 25, 9:10 a.m.

    Guilt by association. Why don't we talk about NCSU's head basketball coach and his personal... View More

    — Posted by truthmatterstome2

    always grasping - you look kind of pathetic trying to find something on Duke or State, unc got... View More

    — Posted by Over at the hill

    The NCSU head coach was not arrested and did not have drugs on him. He did something wrong and was released. So using your same judgment, Williams should be let go as well. Another a good example, "In response to the allegations Duke University suspended the lacrosse team for two games on March 28, 2006. On April 5, 2006, Duke lacrosse coach Mike Pressler was forced to resign under threat by athletics director Joe Alleva and Duke President Richard Brodhead canceled the remainder of the 2006 season." The players were cleared, even I think given back their time for missing a year. Penn State is another example. Chris Webber and Michigan. Webber was indicted by a federal grand jury and stripped of his All-American honors by the NCAA as a result of his direct involvement in the Ed Martin scandal.

  • Over at the hill Jul 25, 8:43 a.m.

    Guilt by association. Why don't we talk about NCSU's head basketball coach and his personal... View More

    — Posted by truthmatterstome2

    always grasping - you look kind of pathetic trying to find something on Duke or State, unc got caught doing multiple infractions with what went on in football and now basketball should be LOIC and to say it is not is turning a blind eye to the obvious.

  • olivechapel1000 Jul 25, 7:33 a.m.

    Power Corrupts. If you are in a big time sports machine, then you are corrupt.

  • genesmith2 Jul 25, 6:41 a.m.

    I keep forgetting, WRAL is the organization run by Jesse Helms in the 60's, when his weekly rant was to close that cesspool over in Chapel Hill, because it dared to allow protests against the war in Vietnam, invited speakers from across the political spectrum from Lester Maddox (Helm favored) to Angela Davis (Helms went ballistic), and in general, just did not suit his ideas. The organization has not changed much in all these years.

  • TSKMFs Jul 25, 12:53 a.m.

    :)

  • hurtheel Jul 25, 12:10 a.m.

    Why doesn't article say list of players from Carolina and Duke continues to grow?

  • StunGunn Jul 24, 5:43 p.m.

    This is beyond "embarrassing". It's awful, and it has to stop. I don't put blame on... View More

    — Posted by StunGunn

    Sorry but that he shouldn't have to babysit the players 24/7 excuse doesn't work anymore. Unc's... View More

    — Posted by 903 PJ suspended til NCAA clears

    Excuse me, but where in my post did I use an excuse??? I stand by what I said in that Roy... View More

    — Posted by StunGunn

    Both jgunn and I are "Tar Heels" - through and through. That said - I know I have... View More

    — Posted by Objective Scientist

    I appreciate your post, OS, but I don't have your credentials when it comes to Carolina. I'm a huge fan, but I didn't attend UNC - my daughter did; her undergrad (Chemistry major) and grad school (Pharmacy). I'm proud of her accomplishments - she had to work very hard for them, as I'm sure you did for your three degrees. While I believe you don't have to attend the school to be a fan, someone like you who did, especially considering the time spent on campus, has a lot more skin in the game. We're both fans and want Carolina to do things the right way, and I appreciate and respect your posts.

  • Coach C Jul 24, 4:46 p.m.

    Both jgunn and I are "Tar Heels" - through and through. That said - I know I have... View More

    — Posted by Objective Scientist

    Sorry but that he shouldn't have to babysit the players 24/7 excuse doesn't work anymore. Unc's... View More

    — Posted by 903 PJ suspended til NCAA clears

    What did PJ do in high school to be a "low-character guy"? I guess JJ Reddick was a... View More

    — Posted by Coach C

    JJ accepted improper benefits from a drug dealer named Fats?

    Ask the UNC posters how they expect... View More

    — Posted by 903 PJ suspended til NCAA clears

    No! He was like alot of college students! Pot smoking drunks......LOL

  • FAN72 Jul 24, 4:07 p.m.

    Guilt by association. Why don't we talk about NCSU's head basketball coach and his personal... View More

    — Posted by truthmatterstome2

    Old news versus current news. Oranges and apples. You really don't see the difference do you?

More...

 

 

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