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North Carolina suspends P.J. Hairston indefinitely after latest traffic citation

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P.J. Hairston (Getty Images)

The one thing embattled North Carolina guard P.J. Hairston could not afford to do is exactly what he did anyway Sunday afternoon.

He got in more legal trouble.

Hairston was charged with speeding and reckless driving on Sunday afternoon after police pulled him over for driving 93 miles per hour in a 65-mile-per-hour zone, USA Today first reported. As a result of the latest traffic citation, North Carolina coach Roy Williams suspended the junior indefinitely late Sunday night.

Another run-in with the law for Hairston calls into question whether North Carolina can risk allowing him to return to the team next season – or even whether he's sufficiently committed to returning at all.

This is the third time Hairston has pulled over and cited for traffic violations since May, all three in different vehicles. Hairston was initially charged with marijuana possession and driving without a license on June 5, but those charges were dropped earlier this month.

In Sunday's traffic stop, Hairston was reportedly driving a 2008 Acura TL. It's unclear at this point who the Acura belongs to or whether it has any ties to Haydn "Fats" Thomas, the convicted felon who was connected to both of the other two rental cars Hairston was driving when he was pulled over earlier this offseason.

A traffic citation like this wouldn't normally be career-threatening for a college player, but Hairston had to be smart enough to realize he was on a zero-tolerance policy given his past missteps this offseason. Between his previous arrest and an investigation into potential extra benefits violations from the rental cars, Hairston couldn't give his critics anymore reason to suggest North Carolina would be taking too big a risk by allowing him to play next season.

The one thing still working in Hairston's favor is his perimeter scoring ability is vital to the Tar Heels' hopes of contending in the ACC and nationally.

Hairston averaged a team-high 14.6 points per game as a sophomore, sparking North Carolina's late-season surge when he moved into the starting lineup midway through ACC play. He averaged 18.2 points during the Tar Heels' final 13 games, playing so well that he briefly considered entering the NBA draft this spring before announcing in mid-April that he'd return to school for his junior season.

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