University of North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams says junior guard P.J. Hairston has earned the opportunity to practice with the team when the Tar Heels officially begin preparations for the 2013-14 season on Friday. Hairston was suspended from the team on July 28th.
“In 26 years as a head coach, I’ve never made the demands on a young man that I have made of P.J.,” says Williams. “To his credit, he accepted them without question. This is just the first step towards permanently earning his place back on the roster. He will have to sit out some games, but we haven’t yet determined how many that will be.
“PJ has done, to this point, everything he’s been asked to do, and done it with an outstanding attitude and a sense of remorse for his actions which put him in this position,” says Williams. “He knows he made a series of mistakes and understands very clearly that he embarrassed his family, our program and the University. But he’s worked hard to get to where he could once again practice with the team.”
“I am so sorry for the mistakes I made that brought such negative attention to the team, the University of North Carolina and my family,” says Hairston. “That’s not how I was brought up and it’s certainly not how Coach Williams expects us to represent this program. I know I let a lot of people down, including our fans and all the people who love not just the basketball team but UNC. I will do whatever I can to regain your faith in me and make sure that I represent the school and the Tar Heels with respect in the future. I appreciate Coach Williams giving me another chance to show that I can and will make better choices and decisions. I owe it to my mom, my dad, my coaches and teammates and every Tar Heel out there to make you proud to have me play basketball for Carolina. It was my dream as a kid and I would love more than anything to have that chance once again.”
Teams are allowed to begin practice this year 42 days prior to the first allowable regular season date, which for UNC is November 8th against Oakland University.