Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sampson shares knowledge on court

Ralph Sampson knows what it's like to attend an all-star basketball camp as one of the best prospects in the nation.

These days he's getting a different view — as a coach and a father.

The 46-year-old Sampson, a No. 1 overall draft pick by the Rockets in 1983, is in his third go-round as an instructor at the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp, held on the University of Virginia campus where he rose to prominence as a three-time national college player of the year.

Two of the campers are his sons, Ralph III and Robert, who are rising prospects at Northview High in Duluth, Ga. Ralph III is a 6-11, 235-pound center, and the 17-year-old senior-to-be has scholarship offers from Minnesota and Georgia Tech. Robert, a few days shy of 15, will be a sophomore and at 6-6 has more of a perimeter game.

"Ralph's got more size and muscle than I did at his age, and he's just starting to come into his own," said the elder Sampson. "Robert is totally different — a lefty, who'll shoot the 3, and he's got real fire and aggressiveness in him.

"The name, of course, turns people's heads, especially for Ralph. But he's not me. He's Ralph III. The only pressure is to get good grades and be a good person."

This is the 14th year of the camp, which focuses half its time on life skills. Each 10-hour day is split evenly between the court and the classroom.

"I'm enjoying my time here with my boys, but also just being out there on the court with all of the kids, offering whatever help, any advice I can," said Sampson, who played nine NBA seasons before retiring in 1992. "I've been talking to some NBA teams and hoping I can work something out. I still love the game, and I feel like I still have something left to give."

No comments: