By TERRANCE HARRIS, SportsRadio 610

HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – Former Rocket Ralph Sampson may not have won it all on the biggest stage as many expected during his years at Virginia, but still the 7-foot-4 giant was one of the most dominant college centers during his era.

For all that he accomplished in a Cavaliers uniform, the three-time National College Player of the Year has been selected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The committee announced its 12-member 2012 class, which will be enshrined in September, on Monday.

Joining Sampson in the class are five-time NBA All-Star Reggie Miller, the NBA’s all-time winningest coach Don Nelson and former college and NBA star Jamaal Wilkes.

“We are extremely honored to welcome this prestigious class of players, coaches, officials, teams and pioneers from the game of basketball into the Hall of Fame,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.  “This group represents a spectrum of individuals who made their mark in history and we look forward to honoring them in September for their contributions.”

Sampson, one of the most heavily recruited players, made an incredible impact during his time with Virginia from 1979-83. He led the Cavaliers to the NIT championship, a NCAA Final Four appearance and an Elite Eight appearance.

Sampson, who was also a two-time Wooden Award recipient, became only the sixth player in NCAA history to score 2,000 points and grab 1,500 rebounds during his college career.

Sampson, of course, went to become the No.1 overall selection of the Rockets in 1983. He quickly made an impact as pro, earning Rookie of the Year honors and then becoming a member of the celebrated “Twin Towers” after he was teamed with Hakeem Olajuwon following his rookie season.

Contact Terrance Harris at or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris

  1. Jeff in Westbury says:

    A 7′-4″ inside force with dreams of being a point guard makes it, but a coach nearly 600 wins, 5 Final Fours, the first of his Texas peers to recruit African-Americans, still on the outside looking in at the likes of Satch Sanders. Without Guy V. Lewis, this Hall has no credibility.

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