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Friday, July 15, 2011
P.J. Hairston impressive in summer ball

By Eamonn Brennan

By now, most college hoops fans are aware of James Michael McAdoo. He's one of the best freshman forwards in the country, one who would start at pretty much any program in the country. Thing is, McAdoo has chosen to play at North Carolina, a team stocked with championship-level frontcourt talent. UNC doesn't really need an impact freshman in the frontcourt, but it has one all the same. It's almost kind of unfair.

Less well-known is the other high-profile freshman arriving at UNC this summer: shooting guard P.J. Hairston. In reality, Hairston might be more important to his new team than McAdoo. North Carolina's biggest drawback in 2011 was its outside shooting; outside shooting just so happens to be Hairston's primary strength. Considering all the attention Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller will draw, having a lights-out outside shooter to play alongside Kendall Marshall could transform North Carolina's offense into a totally unstoppable unit.

So Carolina fans -- who've had no shortage of ways to be geeked about the upcoming college hoops season -- will be glad to hear reports out of Durham, N.C., where Hairston has spent his time impressing pretty much everyone at the Greater N.C. Pro-Am, per this report from the News & Observer's Harold Gutmann. With a handful of his UNC teammates sidelined thanks to other commitments, Hairston and fellow UNC players past and present (alumni Rasheed Wallace and David Noel, junior Leslie McDonald and McAdoo, too) were split into a game in which Hairston scored 25 points and unleashed a variety of dunks that sent observers into a tizzy.

The only disconcerting moment, according to Gutmann, came when Hairston iced his wrist on the sidelines. What injury befell the promising freshman? Oh, nothing, really. Just a small matter of dunking the basketball too hard:
"I bruised my wrist from dunking too hard," said Hairston, who thought he would be fine in a few days. "(I wanted to) give the crowd a show."

As if Carolina fans needed any more reasons to be excited. Sheesh.