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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

UNC recruit P.J. Hairston: Duke couldn’t ‘spell my name right’

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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If North Carolina incoming freshman P.J. Hairston has big games against Duke throughout his college career, the Blue Devils staffer in charge of mailing monthly letters to recruits may get some dirty looks around the basketball office.

Hairston, a McDonald's All-American small forward from Greensboro, N.C.,  decided to remain close to home in college, so two of the programs to which he immediately gravitated were Duke and North Carolina. He told the Greensboro News-Record one of the reasons the Tar Heels ended up being the more appealing choice was because they had less trouble getting his name correct.

"The thing about Duke was, every time they sent me a letter, they wouldn't spell my name right," Hairston said. "They would have 'T.J. Harrison' or something like that. And I'm like, 'OK. How can I go here? You can't even spell my name right.' It's only two letters and HAIR and STON. I'm trying to figure out how that's so hard."

There's no way of verifying whether Hairston is embellishing or not, but it would be quite a blunder from the Blue Devils if it happened even once or twice. Not only does Rivals.com rank Hairston the No. 13 prospect in the Class of 2011, he also shares the same last name as a current member of the Duke roster, guard Josh Hairston.

Of course, Duke certainly won't miss Hairston all that much considering Mike Krzyzewski managed to land the second-best 2011 recruiting class in the nation behind only Kentucky. The Blue Devils used the vacant scholarship that would have gone to Hairston on decorated small forward Michael Gbinije, likely a good fit in a star-studded class that includes guards Austin Rivers and Quinn Cook, forward Alex Murphy, and center Marshall Plumlee. {YSP:MORE}

The other reason Hairston lists for not selecting Duke is actually more unusual than the first. He told the News-Record that Duke's system is too "mechanical" for him, a strange complaint considering Krzyzewski's offense is typically fast-paced and free-flowing.

"Don't get me wrong. Duke is a great school," Hairston said. "It wasn't just because they couldn't spell my name right why I didn't go there. I don't feel that I'm a Duke-type player, because they have a crazy system. It's like mechanical.

"I couldn't see myself playing at Duke …" he said. "I realized North Carolina is where I wanted to be."

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