Duke Spelling Gaffes Helped Deter HairstonPosted by jstevrtc on May 17th, 2011
The old saying goes that it’s not the name on the back of the jersey that matters, but the one on the front. How about the one on the envelope?
Last year P.J. Hairston found himself with a choice that most basketball-playin’ high school kids would kill to have to make. The star 6’5 shooting guard prospect from Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia had offers from all sorts of Division I programs and had narrowed his choices down to Duke and North Carolina. Not a bad spot to be in, eh? To many kids growing up in ACC country (and beyond), that’s the dream.
He chose North Carolina…and Duke helped him with the decision. Hairston recently told the Greensboro News and Record that one of the reasons he chose the Tar Heels is because Duke often misspelled his name on the mailings they sent him. “Every time they sent me a letter, they wouldn’t spell my name right. And I’m like, ‘You can’t even spell my name right. How can I go here?’ I’m trying to figure out how that’s so hard.”
It’s a legitimate point. Hairston obviously had enough affection for the Duke program to have them in his top two despite repeated screw-ups of his name on the mailed materials. Hairston admits that there are other reasons he chose Chapel Hill over the Blue Devils, but this couldn’t have helped. Mike Krzyzewski — get ready for a huge scoop, here — still has a cadre of top-notch prospects coming to Durham next season, so you won’t catch Duke fans bemoaning the loss of any one recruit. Last we checked, though, Coach K doesn’t like finishing second to anyone — especially UNC. Knowing that a series of inexcusable clerical errors may have cost him the 12th-ranked player in the country means there’s a good chance that the guy addressing the envelopes is getting his backside gnawed on by the big boss over this one.
This is especially funny considering that at the same time Duke was recruting Hairston and getting his name wrong, they were also in the process of successfully courting another prospect from Virginia, namely 6’6 small forward Michael Gbinije, the 28th-ranked player on the ESPNU 100. So…”Gbinije” they got right. But not “P.J. Hairston?”
Remember, recruiters: God is in the details, and therefore so might be your shooting guard. Somebody at Duke couldn’t get the small detail of P.J. Hairston’s name right, and that’s one reason why you won’t see him suiting up in Blue Devil colors with fellow newcomers Dustin Rivers and Marshall Plumley next year.