No school has had more McDonald’s All-Americans than North Carolina who had two recruits named to the 2011 class, giving UNC a grand total of 58 MAA’s. While Carolina recruit James McAdoo was earning co-MVP honors of the game, future Tar Heel P.J. Hairston quietly put together a solid all-around performance scoring 15 points in just 14 minutes of action.
(This is a Paul M. Banks and David Kay collaboration)
Hairston certainly does not look the part of a high school senior. At 6-6, 220 pounds, the Greensboro native already has build for the college game. But as he displayed in the McDonald’s All-American game by going 3-6 from downtown, it was ability to shoot the rock that stood out. Hairston calls that part of his game his biggest strength, “Shooting, I would say, because it’s hard to guard when I can shoot or go past you.”
“When I get hot is when I get feet set. I don’t really let bad shots affect me but I try to not take bad shots on every possession,” Hairston added.
“Everyone knows he can shoot the rock,” future teammate McAdoo said of Hairston. “But he’s really been working on developing that two guard body so he make it to the NBA, and when he gets there he’ll be able to defend, handle the ball, and he thinks he does a great job with that.”
Even with his ability to stroke it from deep, Hairston will be hard-pressed to find playing time during his freshman campaign. Dexter Strickland, Leslie McDonald, and Reggie Bullock all return and play the two guard position. Hairston could find minutes at the small forward spot backing up Harrison Barnes who is expected to return to UNC for his sophomore season despite being a likely top-three pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Even though he likely will not see the court time that most of the other highly-touted freshman in the 2011 class, Hairston could not say no when Roy Williams offered him a scholarship. “He knows what to say, all the things he said to me clicked,” Hairston said of his future coach. “He never promised playing time, but promised that if I come in and work, a lot of things can be earned.”
“The style of play- the run and gun offense; it’s what I like to do, get out and finish, and help my team win.” And with North Carolina likely the top team in the 2011-2012 pre-season rankings, Hairston’s addition to the roster will only make the Heels deeper and more dangerous.