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Updated: May 9th, 2011 1:15pm
Change of heart? Joel Maturi expects Ralph Sampson III to stay at 'U'

Change of heart? Joel Maturi expects Ralph Sampson III to stay at 'U'

by Tom Pelissero
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It appears the Gophers men's basketball team won't lose Ralph Sampson III after all.

In a text message to 1500 ESPN on Monday afternoon, "U" athletic director Joel Maturi said he expects the 6-11 center to return for his senior season.

Sampson declared for the NBA Draft on April 28 but apparently did not hire an agent. Sunday was the deadline for underclassmen to withdraw their names from the early-entry pool.

The son of former No. 1 overall pick Ralph Sampson played in all 31 games this season for the Gophers, averaging 10.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. His career averges are 8.1 points and 5.1 rebounds.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero