- Associated Press - Monday, February 28, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO. (AP) - The trophy case in the home of Ralph Sampson’s mother is about to get a little more crowded.

Sampson, the 7-foot-4 Virginia center and three-time Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, joined seven others Monday, including coaches Bob Knight and Eddie Sutton, as the newest members of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

“I hope everybody who watched me play, at the collegiate level or the NBA level or any level, high school as well, enjoyed me while I was playing,” Sampson said in a conference call that included Cazzie Russell, the former Michigan great who was also named to the 2011 class. “I will cherish this the rest of my life. It will go along with my college player of the year award at my mother’s house.”

Also in the class announced Monday are players James Worthy of North Carolina and Chris Mullin of St. John’s and contributors Joe Vancisin and Eddie Einhorn.

Induction will take place at the Hall of Fame on Nov. 20 as part of a three-day celebration that includes the CBE Classic at Sprint Center featuring Missouri, California, Georgia and Notre Dame.

Knight, who coached Indiana to three national titles and is now forging a second career as a color analyst on television, had 902 wins in 41 seasons at Indiana, Army and Texas Tech. His teams also had a 98 percent graduation rate.

Sutton was the first coach to take four schools to the NCAA tournament _ Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State. His teams at Arkansas (1978) and Oklahoma State (1995, 2004) advanced to the Final Four. He had an 804-328 record in 36 seasons.

Bill Self, who has won six straight Big 12 titles at Kansas, said he learned many valuable lessons while serving as a young assistant coach for Sutton at Oklahoma State.

“This is not an overly complicated game and you’re better off doing a few things really, really well than a lot of things average,” Self said. “Certainly, he’s been a guy who was a master. If you’re going to beat him, you’re going to have to beat him. He’s not going to help you beat him.”

Knight finished with a record of 902-371, the most wins of any men’s coach in Division I. In addition to NCAA titles in 1976, 1981 and 1987, Knight guided Indiana to 11 Big Ten championships.

He is one of three coaches to lead a team to NCAA and NIT titles and an Olympic gold medal. His teams had a graduation rate of 98 percent. Knight was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1991.

Sampson, a four-time All-America at Virginia, is one of three men to be national player of the year three times (1981-83). He led Virginia to a 112-23 record, including an appearance in the 1981 Final Four and was the sixth player in NCAA history to score more than 2,000 points (2,228) and have more than 1,500 rebounds (1,511).

“Walking across Thomas Jefferson Lawn on a rainy day and receiving my diploma at the University of Virginia is probably the most cherished moment that I will carry for life,” he said. “That diploma is against the wall at my mother’s home.”

Russell averaged 27 points and nine rebounds for three years in the mid-60s while leading Michigan to three straight Big Ten championships. He was a two-time player of the year in the Big Ten.

“It was a great four years there at the University of Michigan for me, which was primarily known as a football school before our class got there,” he said. “So I feel very, very fortunate to have gone there and to have won the Big Ten three years in a row. We went to the Final Four two of my three years. So I really felt like it was a blessed time I spent at the University of Michigan.

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