2012--13 RECORD 25--11 ACC 12--6 (3RD) WHAT'S BACK MINUTES: 70.6% POINTS: 72.0% REBOUNDS: 77.3%
After junior wing P.J. Hairston was suspended indefinitely on July 28 for his third run-in with the law in three months, he gathered his fellow Tar Heels in the locker room. UNC's leading scorer last season then apologized for his transgressions. "It wasn't one of those cliché 'Sorry, guys,'" junior forward James Michael McAdoo says. "It was definitely something that he took responsibility for."
Hairston had plenty to explain. The speeding ticket last May in a car rented by an associate of convicted felon Haydn (Fats) Thomas. The arrest a month later for driving without a license and marijuana possession in a car Hairston also told police was rented for him by Thomas. (Both charges were eventually dropped.) The citations in late July for speeding and careless and reckless driving, for which he went to court and paid a fine.
After enduring an off-season running program that coach Roy Williams calls "the most difficult thing that I ever had a player do," Hairston was allowed to start practicing in late September but will miss a yet-to-be-determined number of games. This could be significant because the Heels' brutal nonconference schedule includes Michigan State and Kentucky. It could be even more damaging if fellow wing Leslie McDonald is also held out of games. (The school has talked with the NCAA about McDonald for what is believed to be his promotion on social media of a designer mouth guard.) Both players stretch defenses with their three-point shooting ability—Hairston's 89 threes last year were second most in North Carolina history—helping McAdoo & Co. inside. McAdoo, who has struggled with his jumper and with turnovers, spent the off-season trying to break bad habits such as releasing his shot in front of his face and rushing through his moves. He'll have to carry the offense until Hairston returns.
Projected Lineup (2012--13 STATS)
PG MARCUS PAIGE*
SOPH. 6'1" 8.2 PPG 4.6 APG
SG LESLIE MCDONALD
SR. 6'5" 7.2 PPG 2.1 RPG
SF P.J. HAIRSTON*
JR. 6'6" 14.6 PPG 4.3 RPG
PF JAMES MICHAEL MCADOO*
JR. 6'9" 14.4 PPG 7.3 RPG
C JOEL JAMES
SOPH. 6'10" 2.3 PPG 2.4 RPG
SF J.P. TOKOTO
SOPH. 6'5" 2.6 PPG 1.7 RPG
F-C KENNEDY MEEKS‚Ä†
FR. 6'9" 19.0 PPG 16.0 RPG
‚Ä†HIGH SCHOOL STATS
ROY WILLIAMS (11TH SEASON)
SIWho is the face of your program?
RW Marcus Paige or James Michael McAdoo. They do a great job in the classroom. They're great leaders on and off the court. They're responsible young men.
SILast season Paige didn't seem to be a natural fit for the way you like to play. What's your confidence level in him?
RW Extremely high. He came in to back up Kendall Marshall for a year. Then all of a sudden, he's the only true point guard in the program. That was a lot to throw at him. I think he's a good fit for the way we like to play and he'll show that this year.
SIWhat are your expectations for Isaiah Hicks?
RW Isaiah is a big-time athlete. Right now, he's just running around, smiling and enjoying life. He doesn't realize that it's going to get awfully tough. We've got to get him rebounding, running and getting the ball in the open floor.
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ROUND OF 32
STREETER LECKA/GETTY IMAGES (HAIRSTON)
DAVID E. KLUTHO/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (WILLIAMS, MASCOT)