Sampson not following in father’s NBA footsteps quite yet

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Ralph Sampson III may yet follow in his father’s footsteps to the NBA. But it’ll have to wait another season.

The 7-foot forward made a last-minute decision to remove his name from the NBA draft, but the news didn’t emerge until Monday. He attended a pre-draft workout, consulted with his family and mulled it over before finally making the right call.

“We want to welcome Ralph Sampson III back to the Golden Gopher basketball program,” Gophers coach Tubby Smith said in the statement. “One thing the NCAA allows players to do is test the draft waters and having done that and also by consulting with his family, he came to the decision to return to Minnesota. He is coming off a good junior season, and I think having gone through the NBA workouts will only help him as we head into next season.”

Sampson, who averaged 10.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2 blocks last season, would’ve been among the more questionable early entrants given his lack of production. Few touted him as a potential first-round pick, let alone a first-round lock.

Now that he’s back, he can continue working on his low-post game and honing his defensive skills to complement his biggest asset – his size.

After all, they say that’s the one thing you can’t teach. He may as well work on everything else in the meantime.

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