Ralph Sampson Commits to Minnesota

Ralph Sampson, a 6-foot-11, 220-pound senior center from Duluth (GA) Northview, has committed to Minnesota, according to sources close to the situation. The Gophers were hoping to land a center to go along with their three-man recruiting class and have a projected top-10 group. He joins jucos Paul Carter and Devron Bostick and South Dakota big man Colton Iverson as the four current recruits.

Ralph Sampson is the son of former college and NBA standout Ralph Sampson. He played for the Georgia Stars AAU team and attended the LeBron James Skills Academy.

His father, Ralph Lee Sampson, was one of the most heavily recruited players ever. He signed with Virginia and was one of only two male players in the history of college basketball to receive the Naismith Award as the National Player of the Year three times (Bill Walton of UCLA was the other male). Professionally, Sampson was a No. 1 draft pick, three-time NBA All-Star, and Rookie of the Year for the Houston Rockets.

Sampson visited Georgia Tech September 22nd and Kentucky October 13th for Midnight Madness. Kentucky has since dropped out of the picture and Sampson picked Minnesota over the Yellow Jackets.

The younger Sampson led Northview to a 15-12 record this season. Head coach Steve Bombard took over during the season after Northview's head coach resigned. His younger brother Robert is a 6-foot-5 left-handed-shooting 10th-grader who is expected to play on the varsity this season.

Minnesota was Sampson's first official visit. He had made an unofficial visit to the campus in May.

Sampson's high school team should be improved as he prepares for his senior season and has stability in the coaching staff, he recently told GoldenSports.Net.

"This year, I think that we will be O.K. We have a few people stepping up, pushing each other and we are coming together as a team. At the end, I think that we will do better good," he said.

Sampson said that the team has some returning talent and some newcomers who could help this season.

"We have some experience and we have some high-energy players," he said. "Players that are enthusiastic and can get the job done. I think in the end, we'll just have to pull together as a team and make a really hard push in an effort for the win."

Sampson's brother figures to join him this season on the Northview court. His brother is six inches shorter and a different player on the court.

"My brother is more of a shooting guard. He likes to shoot the three and he likes to shoot it deep. He also likes to run up and down the floor a lot and grab rebounds. When we get a chance, we play one-on-one a lot," he said

Sampson said that he enjoyed his visit to Minnesota.

"I really like it a lot. I like the overall atmosphere. I like the coaching staff and all the players. I like the campus and I took a look at the school, academically, and I really liked that as well."

Sampson had said that he could see himself becoming a Minnesota Gopher.

"I think so. I could see myself here," he said.

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