Williams: Hairston 'earned the opportunity to practice' with UNC - WFLA News Channel 8

Williams: Hairston 'earned the opportunity to practice' with UNC

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The university suspended PJ Hairston indefinitely following a number of infractions over the summer. (AP Photo) The university suspended PJ Hairston indefinitely following a number of infractions over the summer. (AP Photo)
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -

UNC coach Roy Williams says PJ Hairston has "earned the opportunity to practice," though it is still unclear how many games he will have to miss.

"I cannot emphasize enough what [Hairston] and his family have gone through and what he's been asked to do by me. PJ has done more conditioning this preseason than any player I've ever had.

"In 26 years as a head coach, I've never made the demands on a young man that I have made of P.J.," Williams said.  "To his credit, he accepted them without question. This is just the first step towards permanently earning his place back on the roster. He will have to sit out some games, but we haven't yet determined how many that will be."

Williams said he will decide the length of Hairston's suspension before the start of the season.

The university suspended Hairston indefinitely following a number of infractions over the summer, including being arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession and driving without a license.

In July, Hairston also received a ticket for driving 93 mph in a 65-mile-per-hour zone on Interstate 85.

The former of the charges were later dropped.

"I know I've let a lot of people down, including our fans and all the people who love … UNC," Hairston said Thursday. "I owe it to my mom, my dad, my coaches, teammates and every Tar Heel to make you proud to have me play basketball for UNC."

Hairston continued, "I am so sorry for the mistakes I made that brought such negative attention to the team, the university and my family.

"It was my dream as a kid [to play for UNC] and I would love more than anything to have that chance once again."

Williams said he is not sure if the NCAA will take action against Hairston due to the infractions.

The rising junior guard announced in April that he would return to UNC for his junior season. He started UNC's final 13 games of 2012-13 at the 4-spot and averaged a team-high 18.2 points per game during that stretch.

ESPN.com projected Hairston as a late first-round draft prior to his decision to return.

The Greensboro, N.C., native led UNC in scoring with 14.6 points per game last season and shot 39.6 percent from 3-point range. His 89 made 3-pointers are the second-most in school history, trailing only Shammond Williams (95 in '96-97). He scored 20 or more points in six of his 14 starts.

The NCAA allows teams to begin practice 42 days prior to the first allowable regular season date. UNC starts their season Nov. 8 against Oakland University.

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