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UNC players mum on possibility of leaving for NBA


All five of these players -- from left, Leslie McDonald, James Michael McAdoo, Marcus Paige, Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston -- will be eligible to return next season for North Carolina. But will they? ROBERT WILLETT

KANSAS CITY — North Carolina’s season came to an end on Sunday night with a 70-58 loss against Kansas in the NCAA tournament. So now the question that surrounds the Tar Heels is an obvious one: Who stays and who goes?

Dexter Strickland, UNC’s senior guard, has played his last game for UNC. Can the same be said for Reggie Bullock, P.J. Hairston and James Michael McAdoo?

I asked all three players for their thoughts on the future and their decision-making process. None of them had much to say, as you’d expect. But here it is, anyway:

UNC guard P.J. Hairston on becoming a starter: I am ready


P.J. Hairston led UNC with 23 points on Wednesday night at Duke. ROBERT WILLETT

CHAPEL HILL — Upon learning that he would enter North Carolina’s starting lineup for its game on Wednesday night at Duke, P.J. Hairston didn’t have much of a reaction. All he could think was, “OK. I’m ready.”

Hairston seemed to be. In his second start of the season, Hairston led the Tar Heels with 23 points, and he was their most consistent scorer during the second half of their 73-68 loss against the Blue Devils.

UNC guard P.J. Hairston improving after concussion but doubtful for Virginia Tech game


North Carolina guard P.J. Hairston is improving after suffering a concussion on Tuesday night, but it's doubtful he'll play on Saturday. ROBERT WILLETT

CHAPEL HILL — P.J. Hairston on Wednesday showed signs of improvement after suffering a concussion during North Carolina’s 82-70 victory at Boston College on Tuesday night, but in a statement UNC described him as “doubtful” for the Tar Heels’ game on Saturday at Virginia Tech.

UNC beats Boston College, 82-70; Hairston gets concussion

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — There wasn’t anything special that North Carolina coach Roy Williams told his players after P.J. Hairston, the Tar Heels’ sophomore guard, suffered a concussion that left him woozy and wobbly late in the first half at Boston College.

“Basically the old clichés,” Williams said following UNC’s 82-70 victory against the Eagles. In the locker room at halftime, Williams mentioned the fact that Leslie McDonald, one of the team’s best perimeter shooters, was back home serving the final game of a three-game suspension.

“And now one of our guys (Hairston) is down laying back on the training table,” Williams said he told his team. “So everybody’s got to pull together even harder. That’s and old cliché and it’s coach-talk, but I believe it’s true, too.”

UNC coach Roy Williams on what is keeping P.J. Hairston on the bench


UNC coach Roy Williams wanted to see more hustle out of P.J. Hairston on Saturday at N.C. State. ROBERT WILLETT

CHAPEL HILL — P.J. Hairston has been inconsistent thoughout his sophomore season at North Carolina. But he has been consistently good, at least offensively, during the Tar Heels’ past two games.

UNC guards Reggie Bullock, P.J. Hairston questionable for UAB game

P.J. Hairston (middle) and Reggie Bullock (right) are both recovering from injuries that have their status in doubt for North Carolina's game on Saturday against UAB. ROBERT WILLETT

CHAPEL HILL P.J. Hairston is still recovering from a knee injury he suffered in practice earlier this week. And Reggie Bullock is recovering from a hand injury he suffered during North Carolina’s 83-59 loss at Indiana on Tuesday.

Both players, arguably the Tar Heels’ two best shooters, are questionable for UNC’s game on Saturday at UAB. Hairston and Bullock were both limited in practice today, and a decision about their playing status will be made tomorrow, a team spokesman said. 

UNC guard P.J. Hairston to miss game against Indiana

CHAPEL HILL P.J. Hairston, the North Carolina sophomore guard who suffered a knee injury during practice on Sunday, will not play in the Tar Heels’ game at top-ranked Indiana on Tuesday.

Hairston is not traveling with the team to Indiana, and there is no timetable for his return, UNC announced in a statement on Monday night.

UNC guard P.J. Hairston suffers knee injury, status in doubt for Indiana

UNC could be without P.J. Hairston (center) on Tuesday night at No. 1 Indiana. ROBERT WILLETT

CHAPEL HILL P.J. Hairston, the sophomore guard at North Carolina, suffered a knee injury during practice on Sunday and his status for the Tar Heels’ game at No. 1 Indiana is in doubt.

Hairston was diagnosed with a mild sprain of his left knee, UNC basketball team spokesman Steve Kirschner said on Monday. It’s unclear whether Hairston will be able to practice today.

Ten questions that surround UNC at start of season

Marcus Paige begins his college career as the starting point guard at North Carolina. How ready is he? ROBERT WILLETT

CHAPEL HILL — It’s here. Basketball season is here. Finally. It never really goes away in Chapel Hill, but it returns tonight when North Carolina begins the season at the Smith Center against Gardner-Webb.

Around this time a year ago, the Tar Heels began the 2011-12 season with national championship aspirations. Entering this season, though, who knows what to expect? I wrote some about that in a story we ran earlier in the week, which you can read right here.

The headline tells the story: “More questions than answers” for UNC.

An ovation for Roy, even before he shows off his dance moves

CHAPEL HILL -- The momentum of the dance contest was so strong even Roy Williams couldn’t resist: Freshmen in ballet tutus, salsa moves and a Broadway kick line. When the entire team came to the bench and tried to pull Williams onto the floor, he obliged with a shuffling sort-of shag, never mind the still-healing scars from his kidney surgery.

“I was surprised,” Leslie McDonald said. “I didn’t know he was going to do it at first. But coach Williams is a lovable, passionate type of guy, so when he hears the crowd going, he’s going to get up and dance.”

Williams was caught up in the moment at a Late Night with Roy that was very much a tribute to the coach after his recent cancer scare. His appearance on the court was greeted with a standing ovation, and his official introduction prompted another, prolonged ovation that left Williams visibly emotional.

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