DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — The Durham man who rented the car that North Carolina basketball player P.J. Hairston was driving on the night of his June drug arrest says he didn't provide improper benefits to Hairston.
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Haydn Patrick "Fats" Thomas said he rented the 2013 GMC Yukon from the June 5 arrest at a license checkpoint in Durham. He also confirmed details reported by WTVD of Durham, including that he loaned the car to friend Miykael Faulcon — one of the two passengers in the vehicle who were arrested along with Hairston.
Hairston, Faulcon and Carlos Sanford were each charged with possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana and released on $1,000 unsecured bonds. Faulcon and Sanford are both from Durham.
"Let me just tell you one thing: there's no story," Thomas said of Hairston. "There's no story here. The basketball player, he's not accepting gifts. There's no story."
"If this was a real problem, you think the NCAA would've been at my door faster than (reporters)?" Thomas said.
UNC officials have said they're gathering information before making any statements or decisions on Hairston's status. They haven't commented further on the case.
Athletic director Bubba Cunningham said last month the school is also investigating whether NBA agent Rodney Blackstock has improper ties to Hairston or any other UNC athlete. That began shortly after USA Today reported in May that AAU coach Darius Cobb said he received $10,000 from Blackstock to steer former Kansas guard Ben McLemore to him as a client.
Blackstock and Hairston are both from Greensboro.
Thomas faces drug charges as well as a charge of possession of a firearm by a felon from a December arrest. WTVD also reported this week that Thomas said he had partied with former UNC athletes but denied providing any improper benefits.
USA Today reported that Thomas was charged $1,261.64 for renting the vehicle, according to a rental receipt. Thomas denied knowing Hairston in an interview with the newspaper.
Officers also seized a 9mm handgun and ammunition during the stop, with Durham police spokeswoman Kammie Michael saying the pistol was found on the ground outside the rental vehicle during the search. Police haven't linked the gun to Hairston or his passengers.
All three are scheduled for an August court hearing.
Hairston, a 6-foot-5 1/2 swingman, announced in April he would return to Chapel Hill for his junior season instead of entering the NBA draft. He led the team in scoring at 14.6 points per game.
Faulcon is a forward at Elizabeth City State, averaging 6.1 points as a freshman reserve. The school has also declined to comment on the case.