Two players that got themselves into a good amount of trouble over the summer appear to be in the clear. Both Marshall Henderson and PJ Hairston are now practicing with their teams even though they were suspended indefinitely by the school.
It is expected that both players will still miss some games but the fact that they are practicing with their respective teams seems to indicate that it will not be a big number. When it comes to the Tar Heels, there was a lot of outside pressure to give Hairston a long suspension after his drama filled summer. UNC has still not given an actual number of games that Hairston will miss. North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham only left it at the statement that Hairston would play some games but “not all of the games”.
Though the media and fans may have shunned Hairston over the summer, it sounds like his teammates still have his back. Sophomore point guard Marcus Paige told ESPN that within the locker room, Hairston was still one of them.
“He’s in good shape right now, and I think he’s in a good place and is ready to move on. … We’ve moved on. He’s working out with us, and we still accept him. It was a big deal in the media, but we’re pretty confident everyone has moved past it. We can’t wait to get him back — whenever it is.”
As for Henderson, his situation is even murkier. He was suspended this summer for violating a team policy. By all indications, it was due to a failed drug test. For a time, it looked like it may have been the final straw for a player who has caused a lot of controversy at Ole Miss. While he has been the team’s best player for much of his time at the school, he has also gotten himself into plenty of hot water both on and off the court.
Like Hairston, no actual number has been assigned in terms of games Henderson will miss. The school’s athletic director, Ross Bjork, has just said that Henderson will miss some action in order to teach him the consequences of his missteps.
Of course both situations are a bit questionable because of the status of the players. Hairston and Henderson are arguably their respective team’s best players. If these guys were the 12th man on the bench, would they be allowed to practice with the team? Would they even still be on the team? Both schools would tell you that they would treat each player similarly, but no one is naive enough to truly believe that.