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We Want Your Stories: Ralph Sampson

Thirty years out, we want to know what you know about one of Virginia's all-time greats

Jim Rogash

Friday marks the 30th anniversary of Ralph Sampson being drafted first overall by the Houston Rockets. It capped a career that saw Sampson become the first (and still only) two-time winner of the John R. Wooden Award; join Bill Walton as the only three-time Naismith Award winners; and lead Virginia to an NIT title, the 1981 Final Four, and three consecutive Sweet Sixteens.

But the stats and the plaudits are known to any serious fan of Virginia basketball, no matter how old. What's missing—at least for us whippersnappers—are the subjective recollections, the memories, the stories. Kathy Orton of Washington Post Magazine penned an exceptional retrospective last week that explored the highs and lows of Sampson's Virginia, NBA, and post-basketball careers. But we want to hear what true blue, dyed-in-the-wool Wahoos know.

We want you to tell us what you remember of Ralph Sampson's career at U.Va.

Was it something during the recruiting process? When was the first time you saw him around Grounds? What was the moment that made you realize just how good a player he was going to be?

Whatever you remember, we want to hear about it. And Friday morning, we'll post the best of what we get.

E-mail me by Thursday afternoon. Make sure to include your first name and current city (and/or year of graduation, for alums) so I can give you proper credit. I will also cull good stories from the comments section below, so feel free to post here, too. Ask your friends what they recall and have them get in touch with us. Whatever form it takes, we want your input for this.

Because it's summer, and we're down to the end of the Stanley Cup finals, and soon there will be no sports for the next eight weeks. That's why.