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Gophers Expect Ralph Sampson III To Stay In NBA Draft As Early-Entry Candidate

Ralph Sampson III’s decision to enter the 2011 NBA Draft last week flew mostly under the radar because most everybody expected the University of Minnesota big man to return to the Golden Gophers rather than keep his name in as an early-entry candidate.

That, apparently, is looking further and further from being the case according to Charley Waters of the Pioneer Press.

The Gophers men’s basketball team is preparing to move ahead without junior center Ralph Sampson III, who has declared for June’s NBA draft and has until today to withdraw and return to school but is expected to leave.

It’s interesting that the team has already seemingly decided to move on with Sampson before he’s even hired an agent or worked out for an NBA team — that happens today in New Jersey — but he’s apparently made sort of indications that he doesn’t plan to return to college basketball.

His official decision will be due sometime late Sunday evening.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.