Ralph Sampson will soon stand among the all-time greatest players the sport of basketball has ever seen.
Sampson, who was a three-time National College Player of the Year during his career at Virginia, was announced on Monday as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2012.
The 7-4 center was a four-time All-American during his UVa career (1980-83), and he led the Cavaliers to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 1981 Final Four. Sampson currently ranks fourth all-time at UVa in scoring (2,228 points) and he's the program's all-time leader in rebounds (1,511), field goals made (899), and blocked shots (462).
Sampson went on to play nine years in the NBA, finishing with career averages of 15.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. He was the No. 1 overall pick by the Houston Rockets in 1983, and was named to three NBA all-star games, but his career was cut short by multiple knee surgeries.
Five-time NBA all-star Reggie Miller and Don Nelson, the league's all-time winningest coach, are also members of the Naismith class of 2012. The rest of the class includes two-time Olympic gold medalist Katrina McClain; four-time NBA champion Jamaal Wilkes; longtime referee Hank Nichols; and the All-American Red Heads, the female version of the Harlem Globetrotters.
The class will be inducted on September 7 at the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.