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Report: P.J. Hairston charged with assault and battery for fight during pickup game


P.J. Hairston has been charged with assault and battery in relation to a fight on Sunday involving a 17-year-old high school basketball player during a pickup game at a YMCA according to a court official. The rookie reportedly will not be arrested, according to a report from Raleigh-Durham’s ABC 11.

A prep basketball star from North Carolina has accused Hairston of punching him twice during a a pickup basketball game on Sunday at the Durham YMCA. The Charlotte Hornets first round draft pick took to Twitter and appeared to cryptically dispute on Monday morning.

The alleged victim of Hairston’s apparently unprovoked fisticuffs is Kentrell Barkley, a 6-foot-5, 195-pound senior at Northern Durham High. Barkley insists he did nothing to cause Hairston to throw punches.

“We had not been arguing or talking or anything,” Barkley told the Charlotte Observer. “ We were just playing basketball.”

Barkley admitted that there was a brief give-and-take between he and Hairston but nothing that rose to the level of animosity to warrant the Hornets rookie to throw down.

“We were playing and he said to one of his guys, ‘He can’t go right. He always goes left,’” Barkley said. “I said, ‘I just went right.’ That was all I said.

“They inbounded the ball to him and he ran right at me. He made a fist and hit me in the forehead. He went ahead and scored at the other end.

“Then I went up to him and asked him what that was all about. I didn’t cuss him or anything. Then he punched me in the neck.

“I didn’t hit him or even throw a punch. I was stunned. There had been nothing to provoke it.”

Hairston’s agent, Juan Morrow, did concede that his client did throw a punch but insisted it was in response to Barkley throwing a punch first.

“The other guy pushed (Hairston), and he pushed back. Both shoved each other,” Morrow said in a Sunday telephone interview. At that point the altercation escalated into punches, the agent said.

“He swung at P.J., and P.J. swung back,” Morrow said, adding “both connected.”

Before news broke about the filing of charges, Hairston, in an example of something that seems to occur more and more in the age of social media, took to Twitter to post a cryptic comment about the alleged kerfuffle that ultimately neither addressed the incident nor shed any light on what may have occurred.

The Hornets, who drafted the troubled former North Carolina Tar Heels star with the 26th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, issued the following statement on Sunday.

“The organization is aware of an incident this afternoon involving P.J. Hairston. We are in the process of gathering additional information and will have no further comment at this time.”