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Tubby Smith Welcomes Ralph Sampson III Back To Gophers Following Flirtation With The NBA Draft

Ralph Sampson III’s flirtation with entering the 2011 NBA Draft is officially complete following the University of Minnesota’s official announcement on Monday, but Golden Gopher head coach Tubby Smith says another year in his system will only help his chances at being selected in the 2012 NBA Draft.

“We want to welcome Ralph Sampson III back to the Golden Gopher basketball program,” Smith said in the release. “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 and fellow senior Trevor Mbakwe will be the only two seniors on this season’s roster, but that isn’t such a bad thing considering they should be good building blocks in the frontcourt while the rest of the team gains valuable experience.

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