P.J. Hairston was suspended for and then kicked off the North Carolina basketball team but now will go professional.(Photo: Rob Kinnan, USA TODAY Sports)via USA TODAY
Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
Former North Carolina guard P.J. Hairston submitted paperwork on Friday to play in the NBA's D-League, he told USA TODAY Sports in a statement.
"I've spent the past couple of weeks consulting with my family about what's best for me, my development and my future," Hairston said. "With their counsel in mind, I have enrolled in an online course at the University of North Carolina, taking a class in my major that will be applied towards getting my communications degree. I turned in my first assignment yesterday.
"Additionally, I am pursing an opportunity to play basketball in the NBA's Developmental League, and submitted my paperwork this afternoon.
"I am excited to continue to pursue my degree at UNC while also pursing my dream of becoming a professional basketball player.
"I appreciate all the support I've received during this process and hope everyone is having a great New Year so far."
Hairston's basketball career at North Carolina came to end in late December when the school decided not to seek reinstatement for Hairston following a lengthy investigation into potential rule violations.
While the school did not say Hairston committed any violations, it said in a statement that Hairston "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."
The investigation was centered on Hairston's use of rental cars linked to convicted felon and Durham-based party promoter Haydn "Fats" Thomas. In May, Hairston was cited for speeding, and in June, he was cited for driving without a license and possession of marijuana. In both stops, he was driving rental cars linked to Thomas.
Hairston led the Tar Heels in scoring (14.6 points per game) and made 89 three-pointers last season as a sophomore. Before his career came to end at North Carolina, Draft Express projected Hairston as a late first-round pick.
READ: UNC Official: P.J. Hairston No Longer Enrolled As A Student
READ: PJ Hairston Suspended Indefinitely From UNC Basketball
READ: Several Charges Against P.J. Hairston Dropped
READ: PJ Hairston Arrested For Possession of Marijuana