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Hairston will not return to UNC this season

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UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham

University of North Carolina junior guard P.J. Hairston will not seek reinstatement from the NCAA, the school said Friday.

Hairston, from Greensboro, has missed 10 games this season due to eligibility issues.

Authorities cited Hairston in May and June while driving a rental vehicle linked to a felon, raising the possibility of an improper benefits violation. He was also caught driving 93 mph in a 65 mph zone.

Carolina is 7-3 this season, with some stunning wins over powerhouses like Kentucky and Louisville and perplexing losses, like to Belmont and UAB. But that inconsistency is common with young teams, and the Tar Heels have struggled to replace Hairston's outside shooting. Carolina has made only 33 percent of its 3-point shots this season. reported that Hairston's chances of returning to the program diminished when UNC and the NCAA found inconsistencies in his statements.

"Unfortunately P.J. made a number of mistakes that placed his eligibility at risk and the University's joint review with the NCAA made it clear that seeking reinstatement for P.J. would not be possible," says director of athletics Bubba Cunningham. "The university thanks him for his contributions to Carolina Basketball.

"We also want to thank Coach [Roy] Williams for the way in which he has held the team together over the early stages of this season despite not having two veteran players and for the level of care and concern he has for the young men on his team."

Cunningham told reporters he talked to Hairston and Hairston's mother before Wednesday's game.

Hairston could enter the 2014 NBA Draft, but his stock is not considered high., a website that closely follows the draft, has him as the No. 53 pick overall, which would put him deep in the second round. Second-round are not guaranteed a contract or any amount of money.

Hairston scored 707 points and made 127 three-pointers in 71 games as a Tar Heel. Last year, he led UNC in scoring at 14.6 points per game and connected on 89 threes, the second-most in Carolina single-season history.

"I am extremely disappointed for P.J., his family and our team as he will no longer be playing basketball at North Carolina," Williams said "P.J. made mistakes and I was very disappointed by his actions and now he is suffering the very difficult consequences. He is not a bad kid; he just made some mistakes.

"Since summer, P.J. has been outstanding with our basketball program and with his schoolwork. He went through an extremely intense conditioning program with flying colors. He has been called a 'perfect teammate' by one of our other players. He has dominated our practices and at times has been as good as any perimeter player I have ever coached, giving great effort to help our team."

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