P.J. Hairston Interview January 29, 2014 Note: This interview was conducted after Monday's game against the L.A. D-Fenders.
DX: Before I get to the Carolina stuff, let's start with how you wound up in the D-League.
PJH: I had the opportunity to take online courses at UNC. And I wanted to stay here so that I could still be on pace to get my degree next spring.
DX: Did you get advice on the D-League from any players?
PJH: I talked to Kendall (Marshall) about it. He has experienced the D-League and just told me that the hardest thing would be the traveling part. And it's true. It's just something my body has to get used to – traveling a lot and being able to play on back to back nights. (note: In P.J.'s first back to back in the D-League he scored 40 points the first night and followed it up with a 1-for-9 performance.)
DX: What has been your first impression of the D-League?
PJH: My first impression was that it was better competition, and the pace of the game was much faster than it is in college.
DX: What was your mindset coming here?
PJH: I came in just like a normal other player would. I came in and tried to do the little things – like play defense and just put the ball in the rim. I didn't expect to come here and average 40, 50 points a game, I expected to come here and be able to work on my game and become a better player.
DX: How do you look back on your time at North Carolina?
PJH: Good memories mostly, I don't really regret anything at school.
DX: Do you still watch your old team?
PJH: I still watch them and I still talk to my teammates a lot. I try to text them after every game and if not, I'll send them a text message during the week.
DX: Do you feel that you were treated fairly by the school?
PJH: (no answer)
DX: What would you tell NBA teams about your dismissal?
PJH: The past is the past. I made some mistakes and of course I regret them fully. I just know they will never happen again because I would never put myself in that situation again.
DX: What would you like to tell people as your side of the story?
PJH: Actions speak louder than words so I don't really want to say anything. Anyone can say, “I'm going to be a better person,” but you have to show it. Like now, I'm a professional athlete. I have to show professionalism. It's a grown man business and I know that I have to make decisions on my own now. It's not college, no one's going to be there to babysit me. It's part of the maturing stage for me and I want to show that I'm a way better person than what was assumed.
DX: How will the D-League prepare you for the NBA Draft?
PJH: There are scouts at every game. My goal is to show them what I've worked on and show what I've done to become a better player. Also, how I'm getting used to the pace of the game, how I can stay in shape and just the different things I've worked on along my journey.
DX: You are currently number 25 on our mock draft. Do you think that is realistic?
PJH: I don't really pay attention to the mock drafts. I just try to play hard each and every night and work on my game to be better. If I jumped up twenty spots to number five, I'd be excited, but there are still four other people who have worked harder than me. [Read Full Article] Top NBA Prospects in the ACC, Part Four: P.J. Hairston Scouting Video September 9, 2013
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]