CHAPEL HILL - University of North Carolina sophomore guard P.J. Hairston will return to the Tar Heel lineup next season. Hairston led Carolina in scoring and three-point field goals this past season, in which UNC went 25-11 and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Greensboro native made the decision to return to school after discussing the matter with his immediate family, including his mother, Wendy Mailey, and UNC head coach Roy Williams.
"I have spent a lot of time with my family over the past couple of days discussing school and my future and I have decided to return to the University of North Carolina for my junior year," said Hairston. "I value the experiences I have had over the past two years in Chapel Hill, and hope to continue to grow under Coach Roy's guidance. Coach always says 'When you focus on the team during the season, I will support you in the off-season.' This is my way of supporting coach, my teammates and the Tar Heel community. Go Heels!"
Hairston averaged a team-high 14.6 points per game and made 89 three-point field goals, the second-highest single-season total in Carolina history. He scored in double figures 27 times, including each of the last 18 games. Over the final 13 games, he averaged 18.2 points. Hairston led the Tar Heels with eight 20-point games with a career-high 29 vs. Virginia and 28 against Miami in the ACC Tournament final. Hairston also was Carolina's third-leading rebounder at 4.3 per game.
"Throughout this process, it has been amazing to watch P.J. utilize the values we have taught him," says Mailey. "I am proud that he took the initiative to weigh the impact of short-term gratification versus long-term success to come to his decision to stay in school. I've watched him continually mature and learn from each lesson he has been faced with over the past two years. And now, his commitment to furthering his education, and to his coach and teammates, further exemplifies his growth."
Hairston graduated from Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., after attending Dudley High School in Greensboro, N.C. for three years. He has scored 707 points (10.0 per game) in 71 games over his first two seasons as a Tar Heel.