NBPA: P.J. Hairston Spotlight

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Rising senior and Tar Heel commitment P.J. Hairston is making changes to his basketball world.

One of the steps he has taken is to transfer from Dudley High School in Greensboro to Hargrave Military Academy, a step his current NBPA Camp coach and former University of North Carolina basketball player Jerry Stackhouse took when he transferred to Oak Hill from Kinston for his senior season.

"I felt like I had pretty much done what I could do at that level," said Stackhouse. "Oak Hill presented such an opportunity for me to play against the top — it was almost like I was in college my senior year from the schedule we played even though we lost the state championship game my junior year. The recruiting, I wanted to get away from it. It was overwhelming…

"When I went to Oak Hill, I was able to live on my own for a year before I went to college. I was a little bit more mature going into college. I had to wash my own clothes, cook for myself, do things like that. I did things that a lot of high school seniors didn't have to do, so I think it was a positive experience for me."

Hairston sees it the same way. It's an opportunity for him to challenge himself on the court and in the classroom and to develop self-discipline by doing things for himself as well.

"I see his talent and things come a little easy for him," said Stackhouse, "and that's where he needs to make sure that he puts in that effort and he keeps that work ethic and desire because he's at the point right now that even at a Top 100 Camp he stands out. You can't get complacent with that."

And going forward, that's what Hairston intends to do.

"The main thing is to come out and work hard against the other players and show who you are," he said.

He decided to forgo USA Basketball tryouts this summer because he'd have had to miss the NBPA Camp in addition to the LeBron James and Paul Pierce Camps and views the latter three as a better way to test himself over the long haul.

"I sent them a letter and told them why I wasn't coming," Hairston said, "so there was an understanding between us."

Hairston is averaging 17.5 points through the first two games of pool play -- leading the camp - and much of that scoring has come from drives to the basket rather than just the jump shooting that he sometimes resorted to in high school games last season.

"Now, since I have been working on my ball-handling, it has made it a lot easier for me to get to the basket," said Hairston, "and now that I can get to the basket off the dribble I'm a threat to anybody who is guarding me because they don't know whether I am going to shoot or drive. It's really good to have another dimension to my game."

And another change he wants to make? His weight. He wants to drop 10 pounds off of his 225-pound frame to his ideal playing weight of 215.

P.J. Hairston Profile


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