North Carolina junior Reggie Bullock and sophomores James Michael-McAdoo and P.J. Hairston will return to school next season, a source close to the situation tells Busting Brackets. A formal announcement is expected either Friday or next Monday.
The trio of North Carolina underclassmen had been ensnared in draft speculation over the last several weeks, inundated in conflicting rumors about which way each one was leaning.
Of the three Tar Heel returnees, only one (McAdoo) was considered a sure-fire first-round pick. The sophomore forward and second-team All-ACC selection passed up on a Top-10 projection in last year’s draft. Now, the former high school All-American has fallen to the bottom of the first round on most draft boards thanks to a productive, but lackluster season in his first full year as a starter.
Bullock, a first-time father, was close to declaring for the draft, according to the source, but was swayed back to Chapel Hill by Roy Williams upon learning new information about his projected stock. The two-year starter led the Tar Heels in 3-point shooting as a junior and was a second-team All-ACC honoree.
Hairston led the Tar Heels in scoring and came along strong at the end of the season, when Williams permanently switched to a smaller lineup mid-season. The rising junior has been tabbed as a mid-second round pick. In the NBA, only first-rounders net guaranteed contracts.
North Carolina finished 25-11 (12-6 ACC) and third in the conference, falling to Kansas in the NCAA Tournament round of 32. The Heels will return all but one player from this year’s rotation — departing senior Dexter Strickland — and will usher in a well-regarded recruiting class headlined by McDonald’s All-American Isaiah Hicks.