The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

P.J. Hairston’s back injury is a blessing in disguise for USA Basketball

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

View photo

.

P.J. Hairston (Getty Images)

The best thing that happened to USA Basketball on Wednesday was a back injury suffered by one of the better players trying out for the World University Games.

That forced North Carolina's P.J. Hairston to withdraw from training camp and prevented USA Basketball from making the mistake of potentially including the junior guard on the 12-man roster heading to Russia next month.

Considering the legal trouble that has currently entangled Hairston, he probably shouldn't have been allowed to try out at all.

Durham police originally arrested Hairston earlier this month for possession of marijuana and driving an expensive rental SUV without a license. A 9-millimeter handgun and a magazine with nine rounds of ammunition were also found on the ground outside the vehicle.

Worse yet, the NCAA is reportedly interested in connections between Hairston and agent Rodney Blackstone, the same man who allegedly paid Ben McLemore's AAU coach in hopes of gaining influence with the Kansas star. It's unclear if Blackstone could have any connection to the expensive SUV Hairston was driving the night of his arrest, but it's likely the NCAA would make an inquiry about that as well.

A USA Basketball spokesperson told ESPN.com's Andy Katz on Thursday the organization was "comfortable with P.J. Hairston participating,'' in training camp after speaking with North Carolina coach Roy Williams about the situation. That's not sufficient due diligence in this case, however.

With the amount of perimeter shooters in training camp — from Spencer Dinwiddie, to Tyler Haws, to Doug McDermott — USA Basketball didn't need Hairston to field the best roster in Russia. The organization should have allowed the legal process to play out instead of allowing him to try out while charges still hang over his head.

Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
Duke's Rodney Hood suffers Achilles injury
Arrests made in burglary at Bob Stoops' home
Hokies focus on filling defensive tackle void

View Comments