2010 National Prep Showcase: Elite 2011 Prospects November 23, 2010 Jonathan Givony
A 6-5 shooting guard committed to North Carolina, P.J. Hairston (#18 Scout, #14 Rivals, #13 ESPN) did little this weekend to dispel the notion that he's a McDonald's All-American caliber prospect.
Sporting a thick, college-ready frame that he's apparently gotten into the best shape of his short career as of late, Hairston is a stocky shooting guard with an average wingspan, and good but not great athleticism. While not terribly quick, Hairston has terrific strength and solid leaping ability, as well as the mentality needed to take advantage of his tools.
Offensively, Hairston's main virtue as a prospect revolves around his phenomenal perimeter shooting ability. He has picture-perfect shooting mechanics, including a quick release, deep range, excellent arc and a beautiful follow through, being capable of knocking down shots all the way out to the NBA 3-point, as he showed regularly this past weekend. He has unlimited confidence in his shot-making ability, particularly in catch and shoot situations, where he's near-automatic with his feet set.
As a shot-creator, Hairston is just average at this point, as he's not a particularly creative ball-handler and loses effectiveness when forced to shoot off the dribble. He's able to overpower defenders at this level and get to the basket with straight-line drives, using his strength to finish well around the rim, especially driving left. To reach his full potential as a scorer, Hairston would be well served improving his advanced ball-handling skills, though, especially his ability to play at different speeds and change directions with the ball.
Hairston also contributes to his team with his high basketball IQ, looking both willing and able to make the extra pass and find the open man. He also puts a good effort in both defensively and on the glass, more than holding his own in this area this weekend. He moves off the ball intelligently and seems to have all the attributes needed to play within a system, as he's a serious, competitive player who seems to know his limitations and puts a good effort in on most possessions.
Hairston's long-term upside might not be as high as some of the other McDonald's All-American wing players in this class, but there's no question that he has an excellent college career ahead of him. We'll need to see how he makes the transition to the NCAA level to further asses his pro prospects. [Read Full Article]