NBC Sports' Rob Dauster lamented the monotony on the college basketball offseason following the July recruiting period in this tweet:
I always forget just how boring the CBB world is after July ends. Can PJ Hairston go drive too fast again or something?
— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) July 31, 2013
Still, I think we can all do with a little less speeding from North Carolina's P.J. Hairston.
The Tar Heels' leading scorer (14.6 PPG) gave his team a lot of promise when he opted to stay in school, improving a squad that was losing Reggie Bullock to the NBA. He then proceeded to have one of the more eventful offseasons we've seen this summer (along with Marshall Henderson).
Hairston first ran into trouble last month when he was caught driving without a license in a car that happened to be rented by a convicted felon. Marijuana was found in the vehicle and a gun was discovered nearby.
The charges from that incident were later dropped, and North Carolina did not punish Hairston. Both his school and the law gave him another chance.
How did he show his gratitude? By earning a citation for reckless driving, caught going 93 mph on a 65 mph limit highway. In a vacuum, this is just a speeding ticket. But given everything that Hairston has gone through this summer, it's a sign that he hasn't learned his lesson.
This time, Hairston didn't get away so easily. He has an August 30th court date and has been indefinitely suspended from the UNC basketball team.
Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Eisenberg explained that head coach Roy Williams has a tough road ahead of him. Giving a player an indefinite suspension is essentially procrastination. Eventually Williams must decide to what extent Hairston will be punished.
At the same time, I understand why he would put off such a decision. As Eisenberg pointed out, Williams kicked a player off his team once before, Will Graves in 2010, and it was difficult for him to handle.
I don't think Williams will go to such measures with Hairston. He's more likely to end up suspending Hairston for a small portion of this season and then everything will be back to normal.
However, if Williams really wants to send a message, he should make it a season-long suspension. A straight dismissal from the team would be a bit harsh. It would also strip Hairston of the nurturing surroundings the team and school provide. Keeping him on the team but out of games would be harsh enough to let Hairston know that he blew multiple chances given to him, but that his basketball family is still there for him.
With Hairston's potential, a full season suspension could mean he's already played his last game as a Tar Heel. Then again, look at a guy like Ricky Ledo.
After committing to Providence, Ledo was deemed ineligible and sat out last season. A guy who was once a top high school recruit and likely one-and-done candidate ended up a late second round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Just know that if the same happens to Hairston, it will be because of his own doing.
Dauster was right to say this period of the college basketball season can be pretty boring. But there's a reason the cliche "no news is good news" exists. For Hairston's sake, let's hope the rest of the offseason goes quietly.
By: Joe Diglio