Sampson III Declares for NBA Draft

On Thursday it was released that Gophers' junior center Ralph Sampson III declared himself eligible for the NBA draft. Sampson has not hired an agent yet, meaning he can still withdraw his name by Sunday, May 8.

As the Gophers' season came to a close, rumors began circulating whether or not certain Gopher underclassmen would declare for the draft. Rodney Williams was high on many draft boards at the beginning of season and Big Ten rebounding champ Trevor Mbakwe looked poised for a jump to the pros at the end of the year. What wasn't expected was 6-foot-11 junior center Ralph Sampson III declaring himself draft eligible on Thursday.

While Sampson was productive this season, he wasn't the most dominant player on the floor most nights. He averaged over 10 points, and five rebounds per contest to go with two blocked shots. Since Sampson has yet to hire an agent, his still has the option of returning to the Gophers before the May 8 deadline to withdraw.

If Sampson does choose to go pro, it will leave Minnesota with a hole in their front court and an extra scholarship late in the recruiting cycle. The most likely scenario is that Sampson will not hire and agent and is simply testing his draft stock in a year that is short on big bodies.

While it is possible that Ralph Sampson III where will be wearing an NBA uniform this fall, expect him to be back in the Maroon and Gold next season.

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