Chapel Hill, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - P.J. Hairston's career at North Carolina is over.
The junior guard won't suit up again for the Tar Heels due to an eligibility issue that stemmed from alleged impermissible benefits.
"I am extremely disappointed for P.J., his family and our team as he will no longer be playing basketball at North Carolina," said North Carolina coach Roy Williams in a statement Friday. "P.J. made mistakes and I was very disappointed by his actions and now he is suffering the very difficult consequences. He is not a bad kid; he just made some mistakes."
North Carolina did not divulge details of Hairston's alleged transgressions, but the Raleigh News Observer said the school became concerned when Hairston was arrested twice earlier this year -- once for a marijuana possession charge that was later dropped and once for speeding and reckless driving -- while driving vehicles linked to Durham resident Haydn "Fats" Thomas, a felon and local party promoter.
Williams suspended Hairston in July, but was allowed to practice with the Tar Heels in September while the university continued its review with the NCAA.
"We first learned of this situation back in the summer and getting to this point took a great deal of time because the university, the NCAA and P.J.'s family took great care to learn as many of the facts as were possible to learn," said North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham. "I know everyone, from P.J. and his family, to the basketball team, our fans and the media, wanted this process to play out faster than it did. However, it took the time that was necessary and ultimately came to this difficult conclusion."
Hairston was North Carolina's leading scorer last season, averaging 14.6 points per game. He decided to return for his junior season rather than enter the NBA Draft.
"Since summer, P.J. has been outstanding with our basketball program and with his schoolwork," Williams added. "He has been called a 'perfect teammate' by one of our other players. He has dominated our practices and at times has been as good as any perimeter player I have ever coached, giving great effort to help our team. He cares deeply about Carolina and the basketball program.
"P.J. has learned from this experience and will continue to grow as a player and adult. I will support him and help him as much as I possibly can as he enters this next phase of his life and basketball career."
Hairston sat out the first 10 games for the Tar Heels, who welcomed back guard Leslie McDonald earlier this week.
McDonald missed nine games for receiving impermissible benefits and ordered to repay $1,783 to the charity of his choice.