The summer was not good for Ralph Sampson, III. It is that simple. He struggled at the NBA Players Association camp. The Nike All-America camp wasn't any better. He didn't have a high school to call home.
Things are changing now for the 6-foot-10, 215-poud big man. Now back at
Northview High School in Duluth, Ga., the school where he attended as a freshman, Sampson is playing with confidence and with a purpose.
On Friday night against Berkmar High School, Sampson scored 18 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked six shots. The son of former Virginia great Ralph Sampson said he realized he needed to play his own game.
"I started living up to my own expectations and playing my own game and stopped worrying about my name or who my dad is," Sampson said. "Someone told me to experience my own dream and if it's God's will, then I will be happy and play well."
Nothview head coach Brian Seitz, who coached Sampson as a freshman, said the big man is making strides.
"He has his moments where he can be really casual or he can be really aggressive. He has a game changing ability because he is a good rebounder and defender. In our last game, he had five dunks and was a force on that end.
"The question with him whether or not he's going to bring it every possession. I think that will just come over time."
Sampson said he has spent extra time in the gym on his own and fine tuning his overall game.
"I've been working really hard. You can never be too good," Sampson said. "My goal is to work as hard I as I can and keep the mindset that there is always room for improvement."
Sampson played a Mt. Pisgah, a small private school in Alpharetta, Ga., last year. The year before he moved to Huntsville, Ala., and played at Butler High School. He has helped his team win state championships at both stops.
"Ralph is so mature and is a great leader for our team. He's won two state titles at different levels and he's really coachable. He wants to get better. Mentally, he's all there. I really think he's a coach's dream, Seitz said. "He's such a winner. People can say what they want about him but he wins and he's unselfish along the way."
College coaches are making the trek to metro Atlanta to see Sampson play. NC State and Oklahoma State have sent assistants out to see Sampson this year while "South Carolina stopped by to say hello," Seitz said.
Admittedly, the three-star prospect said recruiting is on the backburner at the moment.
"I haven't thought about that too much," Sampson said. "People are coming out to watch me play but I'm working on getting better right now."