The NCAA has opened an investigation into North Carolina guard PJ Hairston’s connection with NBA agent Rodney Blackstock, Big Lead Sports has learned.
According to a source, an NCAA investigator met with a University of North Carolina compliance officer this week regarding the relationship between the Tar Heels’ leading scorer from last season and Blackstock, who played at UNC-Greensboro a decade ago. Blackstock was in the news recently when it was revealed that he paid the AAU coach of Kansas star Ben McLemore thousands of dollars “on behalf of sports agents and financial advisers” who were courting McLemore.
Emily Potter, the NCAA’s associate director of public and media relations said via email: “it is our policy to not comment on current, pending or potential investigations.”
The UNC compliance officer who took part in the meeting with the NCAA didn’t return an email or phone call, but said through school spokesperson Steve Kirschner, “The NCAA and its member schools are continuously engaged in efforts to educate, monitor, investigate and report. We do not comment on compliance issues or the reported activities of the NCAA.”
Hairston, like Blackstock, is from Greensboro, and a source tells Big Lead Sports the two have known each other for years, and became much closer last year when Hairston emerged as North Carolina’s best player.
Here’s a GIF of Blackstock in the stands saluting Hairston after PJ dunked during pregame warmups in the North Carolina Pro-Am summer league in 2012. The salute is at the 4:02 minute mark of this video.]
Blackstock was in Hawaii when the Tar Heels traveled there in November 2012 for the Maui Invitational, and in agent/runner circles, he is widely regarded as Hairston’s “gatekeeper,” as in, to get to Hairston, you have to go through Blackstock. Hairston’s mother and Blackstock are friends on Facebook, and up until recently, there was a photo of them together at the Maui Invitational.
A source said the NCAA had planned on speaking with Hairston’s mother, Wendy Mailey, this week.
Next week, Hairston will be in Colorado Springs, participating in the World University Games Training Camp.
Hairston, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard with unlimited range, led the Tar Heels in scoring with 14.6 ppg last season, but decided not to declare for the NBA draft. His decision to stay in Chapel Hill instantly vaulted UNC into the 2014 Final Four discussion.
But earlier this month, Hairston was arrested with two friends in nearby Durham when a traffic stop turned up a small amount of marijuana. Later, a gun was found outside the car. The vehicle Hairston was driving was a 2013 GMC Yukon, but neither the rental agency nor the police are willing to reveal the name of the renter.
Is Blackstock the man who rented the Yukon? Right now, the only people who know the answer to that are Hertz, the police, the University of North Carolina and possibly, the NCAA.
If Blackstock is linked to the vehicle, it could potentially be a damaging blow to his eligibility in 2013-2014 – according to the NBA Players Association, Blackstock is a certified agent.