Gun found outside the car North Carolina’s P.J. Hairston was driving when he was arrested

Jeff Eisenberg

As more details emerge from Wednesday night's arrest of North Carolina forward P.J. Hairston, the potential consequences continue to grow more dire.

A 9-millimeter handgun and a magazine with nine rounds of ammunition were found on the ground outside the vehicle Hairston was driving when Durham police pulled him over at a checkpoint, according to multiple reports. It's unclear which of the three men in the car owned the handgun if any of them, but the implication is one of them may have attempted to dispose of the weapon as the vehicle approached the checkpoint.

Hairston and the other two men in the vehicle were arrested for possession of marijuana, and the North Carolina forward was also cited for driving without a license. The police report released Friday revealed officers found 43.2 grams of marijuana in the car in two separate plastic baggies.

If the possession of marijuana is the only charge levied against Hairston, North Carolina likely wouldn't have reason to make his punishment more severe than a brief suspension. Gun charges would surely complicate things, however, and perhaps even put his standing with the university in jeopardy.

North Carolina cannot afford to lose Hairston for an extended period next season since his return is one of the biggest reasons the Tar Heels are likely to begin the season in the top 10 in most polls.

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.