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Hornets’ Hairston no longer faces assault charge

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A misdemeanor assault charge from last summer against Charlotte Hornets rookie P.J. Hairston was dropped by the Durham County (N.C.) district attorney’s office.

High school student Kentrell Barkley requested that the charge be dropped, District Attorney Roger Echols said Thursday. Barkley accused Hairston of hitting him in the face during a pickup basketball game at the Durham YMCA in July.

Hairston had just been selected in the first round of the NBA Draft before the alleged incident occurred.

As a sophomore in 2012-13, Hairston led North Carolina in scoring, but before his junior year he was suspended because of eligibility issues and did not play after the university decided against seeking his reinstatement.

Hairston finished last season in the NBA Development League, where he averaged 21.8 points per game for the Texas Legends. He was drafted 26th overall by the Miami Heat, then was dealt to Charlotte for the 24th overall pick (Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier) and two second-round picks.

Barkley, a 6-foot-5 senior at Northern Durham High School, said this summer in court documents that Hairston “punched him twice in the head” during a heated basketball game at the Durham YMCA.

“We were playing open gym and I was running up the court and he hit me in the forehead with his fist,” the 17-year-old Barkley told ESPN.com. “I walked up to him and asked him what happened, and then he hit me again in the neck.”

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