Hairston Ready for UNC

Rasheed Wallace wouldn't let P.J. Hairston have his "weight room" moment on him. Not yet anyway.

Playing in a pickup game at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill last week, Hairston saw Wallace under the basket and drove to the rim with the intent of throwing it down. But when Hairston raised up to dunk over the former NBA All-Star, he found himself alone.

"He moved out of the way," Hairston said. "He didn't give me the chance to do it."

Hairston might not have gotten his chance to recreate Tyler Hansbrough's infamous pickup game dunk over Jerry Stackhouse but he didn't mind.

He still made the dunk. His team won four out of five against Wallace's team. And, he'll have plenty more opportunities to get the 15-year NBA veteran when Hairston moves to Chapel Hill this weekend.

Hairston will make the hour trip from Greensboro with his mother, father and girlfriend on Sunday to move into a dorm suite with James Michael McAdoo, Stilman White and Jackson Simmons.

"I'm just excited to get up there," Hairston said. "I'm not ready to be away from Greensboro but I'm just ready to do something new."

Hairston graduated from Hargrave Military Academy May 14 and moved back in with his mom shortly after. Since then he's been hanging out with old friends and reflecting on what was a productive year for him.

Hairston has a lousy poker face when it comes to the entertainment level at Hargrave. He loved the results but hints that the conditions weren't always ideal for a teenager.

"I was just ready to go," Hairston said with a laugh. "(But) That's what I went for -- to accomplish goals. One of my goals was to lose weight and I did. Another goal was to increase my GPA (and I did)."

Aside from his weight and grades, Hairston also saw a change in his demeanor -- or at least his friends did. He says his friends often comment on how he's calmed down and matured in the last year.

"People tell me I act a lot different since I went to Hargrave," Hairston said. "I kind of see it in myself, too. It's like every time I'm around someone they say, ‘Why are you so quiet?'"

Hairston says he thinks he's more focused than quiet.

"People aren't used to it," he said.

Hairston has made it down for a few pick-up sessions with his future teammates, including the one last week with the would-be-dunk on Wallace. He said he had Kendall Marshall, Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller on his team that day. Wallace was teamed up with Raymond Felton and a few others.

"It was fun," Hairston said. "Of course Rasheed was talking junk because, I mean, that's what he's known for but it was all fun though."

Though his team won four out of five games, Hairston said he had to get used to the physical play of the next level. He also said he's still getting used to playing with his new teammates.

"I feel like the chemistry is there, I'm just not used to the system yet," Hairston said. "They were running like they do in the games. I just have to get used to the system but I'll be fine."

Hairston will wear the No. 15 for Carolina next season in honor of several family members who wore it, including his grandfather, his father, his uncle and his aunt. Vince Carter aspirations aside, Hairston said the choice was primarily to be the next No. 15 in the Hairston family.

"I didn't get the chance to wear it in high school so now I'm just going to wear it in college," Hairston said.

In addition to choosing his college number, he also recently picked out his first two classes: sports marketing and public speaking.

"I took sports marketing in ninth grade at Dudley. I don't know how different that will be," Hairston said. "I also took public speaking last year at Hargrave."

Whether he's taken the class before or not, Hairston said he's more focused on the academic side of things and he can credit Hargrave for that.

"When I get to Carolina I want to stay in the books," Hairston said. "Stay focused on the right things and basically work out and keep my body right. By the time the season comes, I'll be (ready)."

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