Saturday, March 2, 2013
North Carolina's PJ Hairston's Continued Improvement
The biggest question mark when Roy Williams decided to put four guards on the floor was how would Hairston perform when guarding opponents post players. Last Saturday Hairston had his chance to guard pre-season player of the year candidate CJ Leslie of NC State. Although Hairston gave up several inches in height to the Wolfpack forward he used his strength to keep Leslie out of the land and disrupted passes with his his quickness. Hairston frustrated Leslie all day resulting in one his worst offensive nights of the season. After scoring 29 at home versus Virginia Hairston has only averaged 11 points over the past three games. The extra energy on the defensive floor could be taking away from his offense however he is still a threat to score and the spacing created by the four guard line up is opening up more lanes for Paige, Bullock and Strickland. Leslie McDonald may be benefiiting the most from Hairston starting because the 6-5 wing is able to come in and focus on the offensive end while guarding someone he is more comfortable.
Hairston returns to the Smith Center where his shooting percentage is higher than on the road. The Tar Heel sophomore is earning his coaches trust with his play on the defensive end of the floor and his team will need it if they are to move forward in March.