Ralph Sampson

Ralph Sampson dominated college basketball in the early Eighties, a graceful, athletic player, who at 7'4", helped redefine the sport. The competitive recruiting of Sampson reached unprecedented heights finally ending when the Harrisonburg, VA two time state champion selected the University of Virginia. The first center to ever show all-court versatility, Sampson's amazing speed, rebounding and shooting ability rivaled the great Bill Walton. At Virginia, Sampson joined Walton as the only players to be named National Player of the Year three times. Sampson led the Cavaliers to the 1980 NIT championship, the 1981 Final Four and marquee regular season victories over collegiate legends Michael Jordan of North Carolina and Patrick Ewing of Georgetown. Drafted by the Houston Rockets, Sampson also starred in the NBA, winning Rookie of the Year in 1984 and as a three time all-star, the All Star Game MVP in 1985. He dethroned the Showtime Lakers in 1986 with a miracle shot, but in the Finals, the Rockets were defeated by the Boston Celtics, one of basketball's greatest ever teams.