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Tuesday, July 30, 2013
P.J. Hairston, one big distraction

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

Summertime is supposed to be a time when college basketball players work on their shooting, hone their skills and prepare for the upcoming season.

The news coming out of Chapel Hill, N.C. has not been good. Tar Heels leading scorer P.J. Hairston has been in the headlines too often, and many times for the wrong reasons.

He decided to pass up a shot at the NBA and return to school. That was the good news for Carolina fans. Lately, he has had a string of off-court issues. He was cited twice in the span of a month while driving a rental vehicle linked to a convicted felon. Those charges were later dropped. Then he was charged with reckless driving near Salisbury, N.C., going over 90 miles per hour in a 65 mph zone.

That latest indiscretion led to a suspension for the North Carolina basketball team.

Think about it, there is obviously a problem here. It is all about his decision-making.

I have said it many times, but when you make good decisions, positive things happen for you. When you make bad decisions, a lot of negative things happen to you ... just ask P.J. Hairston.

It is time for Mr. Hairston to look in the mirror and take grip of what is happening. He has a great base to work with, at a program that has an incredible track record. Look at all of the greats that have worn that Carolina Blue -- Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Sam Perkins, Kenny Smith, and the list goes on and on.

Hairston not only represents North Carolina but himself and his family. He represents that tradition, and he should do so with a sense of pride and passion.

It is time for him to be accountable for his actions.

I hope and pray he does. I want nothing more than to see young kids reach their potential. He should not be a quitter and it is time to grab on to the people who want to help him.

He has a Hall of Fame coach in Roy Williams, a man who is always about doing things the right way. Hairston has a lot of people around that care about him. His family and friends will step up and be there. Most of all, he must care about himself.

He has reached a point where he has embarrassed himself, friends and family, and the Tar Heels program. There is time to turn things around, and that time is now!