Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Basketball lineage is only part of their background

  • Article by: MYRON P. MEDCALF , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 22, 2011 - 10:42 AM

No matter how hard he tries, he can't hide.

Ralph Sampson Jr.'s 7-4 frame, the one that helped him win three national player of the year awards at Virginia in the early 1980s, betrays him these days as he tries to play the role of a normal dad.

That frame also makes it difficult for Ralph Sampson III to be a normal college player with the Gophers. His famous father travels the country to see his son's games, but it is the father who remains in the spotlight, constantly entertaining interview requests, photo-ops and a stream of handshakes from admirers.

Following a father with an elite basketball legacy is a common thread for the Gophers. Freshman Austin Hollins is the son of former NBA star and current Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins. Gophers assistant coach Saul Smith is the son of coach Tubby Smith and played for his father for four years at Kentucky.

The three sons share this trait: They say their fathers let them evolve into their own players.

During a Gophers victory over St. Joseph's in Philadelphia last month, Ralph Sampson Jr. tried to relax in the bleachers, but the stilts below his kneecaps towered a foot above everyone sitting in front of him. By halftime, he had on a headset during interviews with radio and TV outlets.

His stature in the basketball world virtually demands comparisons whenever his son throws up a sweet hook or blocks a shot barely leaving the floor. Still, Sampson Jr. said he allows his son to forge his own identity.

"No pressure whatsoever. We believe pressure comes from within, not from without," Sampson Jr. said last month. "He's handled it very well from a little kid until now. It's not about Dad and what Dad has done. It's about what you want to do."

Sampson III said he doesn't feel like he has to succeed his father's lineage. But like most sons, he said he loves to make Dad proud.

"Just him being there, just sitting there in the stands,'' the junior center said. "I know he's sitting there watching and critiquing, which makes me want to play up to his standards because at the end of the game, I want him just to sit there and say, 'I can't tell you anything because you've done it all.' But I haven't gotten to that point yet. After the game, he always has something to say."

Just Dad

Lionel Hollins sees some resemblances when he watches his son compete.

"He's taller than me,'' he said recently. "I know I was quicker and faster than him, but that might be debatable."

Hollins, a 6-3 guard who played in the NBA from 1975 to '85, didn't force any of his four children to play basketball. They all played, but only Austin developed a love for the game.

Although Lionel's exploits have included an NBA championship ring, All-Star appearance and lengthy coaching career, he said he didn't want basketball to define his children, having witnessed too many overbearing parents.

"I've seen it all through all of my kids' upbringing," he said. "They're on these travel teams, they spend all this money traveling around the country and the kids don't have any fun."

Austin Hollins said his exposure to basketball through his father enhanced his basketball IQ and shaped his instincts.

The latter is obvious when he finger-rolls on a fast break or intercepts a cross-court pass. But he credits his parents' emphasis on academics, not athletics, for molding him into a balanced Division I player.

"I want to do well in everything I do," he said. "It was my decision to play basketball. They didn't push me to play basketball. I just went with it and they were behind me the whole way."

T-ball to basketball

Sampson III also said he chose basketball on his own when he was a kid.

"I started off playing basketball at the YMCA," he said. "My mom signed me up for that. She also signed me up for T-ball. T-ball got a little boring for me because you're standing out there on first base and the ball would never come to me and I would just kind of stand there and get hot. I decided to make the complete switch to basketball because it was more exciting."

Saul Smith can relate to the experiences.

He withstood critics who assumed he earned his minutes because of his father. As a freshman, Saul was a point guard on the Tubby-coached 1997-98 Kentucky team that won the national championship.

The critics only inspired him to play harder, he said.

"For me, I had to deal with being a coach's son," he said. "You have a bunch of people that probably automatically think no matter what you do, it's never going to be good enough. That kind of fuels you a little bit."

Tubby Smith also coached another of his three sons, G.G., for two years at Georgia in the mid-90s. But he said his sons didn't face the comparisons that his players Sampson and Hollins have encountered.

"[G.G. and Saul] both were very capable players and understood the game extremely well," Smith said. "Those six years were probably the winningest years in my coaching career. ... It would be much tougher for a Ralph; it's much tougher on Austin. ... I wasn't any good, so my boys didn't have to live up to anything when it came to basketball. They were much better than I was. It was a big difference."

  • related content

  • 5ive Questions: Gophers v. Michigan Saturday

    Saturday January 22, 2011

    The Gophers travel to Ann Arbor, where they haven't won since Tubby Smith's first season.

  • Hardaway learned to give son space

    Saturday January 22, 2011

    The All-Star guard realized he was putting a strain on his family by putting his son's play under constant scrutiny.

  • Gophers men vs. Michigan: Gameday

    Friday January 21, 2011

    The Gophers (14-4, 3-3 Big Ten) travel to Michigan (11-8, 1-5) on Saturday trying to win on the road for the first time in conference play. They lost their first...

  • Ralph Sampson III, left, and Austin Hollins, right

  • NO. 19 MINNESOTA AT MICHIGAN 6 p.m. today at Crisler Arena • TV: BTN (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Tennessee 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Detroit 11/23/14 12:00 PM
New England
Green Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Jacksonville 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Cincinnati 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tampa Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Arizona 11/23/14 3:05 PM
Seattle
St. Louis 11/23/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Miami 11/23/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Washington 11/23/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
Dallas 11/23/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
NY Jets 11/24/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Baltimore 11/24/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Detroit
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Phoenix 6:00 PM
Indiana
Miami 6:00 PM
Orlando
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
New York
Toronto 6:30 PM
Cleveland
Dallas 7:00 PM
Houston
Sacramento 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Brooklyn 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Washington 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
New Orleans 8:00 PM
Utah
St. Louis 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Montreal 6:00 PM
Boston
Detroit 6:00 PM
Toronto
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Columbus 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Washington
Florida 7:00 PM
Nashville
Los Angeles 7:00 PM
Dallas
Carolina 8:00 PM
Colorado
New Jersey 9:00 PM
Calgary
Chicago 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Arizona 9:30 PM
San Jose
Incarnate Word 31 2nd Half
Princeton 27
Robert Morris 11:00 AM
Georgetown
Notre Dame 11:00 AM
Massachusetts
Saint Peters 11:30 AM
La Salle
Ball State 12:00 PM
IUPUI
Utah State 12:00 PM
Miss State
High Point 12:00 PM
Richmond
Appalachian St 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Drake 12:00 PM
Western Mich
Samford 1:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Colgate 1:00 PM
Campbell
North Carolina 1:00 PM
Davidson
North Florida 1:00 PM
Northern Iowa
UMass Lowell 1:00 PM
NJIT
Nebraska Omaha 1:30 PM
Marquette
Clemson 1:30 PM
Nevada
Florida State 1:30 PM
Providence
South Alabama 2:00 PM
Detroit
Texas State 2:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Trinity Christian 2:05 PM
Chicago State
Liberty 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western State 3:00 PM
Air Force
Elon 3:00 PM
Northwestern
Canisius 3:00 PM
St Bonaventure
MD-Eastern Shore 3:00 PM
St Francis-PA
Cleveland State 3:00 PM
Savannah State
SE Missouri St 3:00 PM
Central Arkansas
UMKC 3:30 PM
Ark-Little Rock
Southern U 3:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Longwood 3:30 PM
Youngstown St
Towson 4:00 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Loyola-Maryland 4:00 PM
Butler
San Jose St 4:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Texas Southern 4:00 PM
Norfolk State
Yale 4:00 PM
Southern Ill
LSU 4:00 PM
Weber State
South Dakota 4:00 PM
Wofford
Duquesne 4:00 PM
Abilene Christian
Wright State 4:30 PM
Char Southern
Miles 4:30 PM
Jacksonville St
Binghamton 4:30 PM
Manhattan
Alcorn State 4:30 PM
Kennesaw St
Bob Jones Univ 5:00 PM
Citadel
Piedmont Coll 5:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Johnson University 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Brown 5:00 PM
Indiana State
Colorado 5:00 PM
Wyoming
Quinnipiac 6:00 PM
Albany
Mount St Marys 6:00 PM
Bucknell
Master's College 6:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
UNC-Asheville 6:00 PM
East Tenn St
Clermont College 6:00 PM
Eastern Ky
UNC Greensboro 6:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Sam Houston St 6:00 PM
Fairfield
American Univ 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Army 6:00 PM
Marist
Hartford 6:00 PM
Niagara
Lafayette 6:00 PM
Penn
Nebraska 6:00 PM
Rhode Island
Vermont 6:00 PM
Saint Josephs
Eastern Wash 6:00 PM
SMU
UNLV 6:00 PM
Temple
Chattanooga 6:00 PM
Tenn Tech
UNC-Wilmington 6:00 PM
Va Military
Ohio Midwestern 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
UC Davis 6:30 PM
Furman
Ill-Chicago 6:30 PM
Kent State
Transylvania 6:30 PM
Lipscomb
Central Conn St 6:30 PM
Monmouth
Oakwood 7:00 PM
Alabama A&M
Morgan State 7:00 PM
Houston
Lamar 7:00 PM
Indiana
Northeastern 7:00 PM
Navy
William & Mary 7:00 PM
Rice
Missouri State 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
TX A&M-Kingsville 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Southern-New Orleans 7:00 PM
Tulane
SE Louisiana 7:00 PM
Western Ill
Belmont 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Hampton 7:00 PM
North Dakota St
UMBC 7:30 PM
Minnesota
Houston Baptist 7:30 PM
Texas-Arlington
St Thomas Aquinas 8:00 PM
Gonzaga
Utah Valley U 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
New Mexico St 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Stanford 8:30 PM
Duke
Morehead State 8:30 PM
Presbyterian
SIU Edwardsville 9:00 PM
Portland
Boise State 9:00 PM
Wisconsin
Valparaiso 11/23/14 8:30 AM
Maine
(12) Kansas State 26 FINAL
West Virginia 20
North Carolina 45 FINAL
(25) Duke 20
Arkansas State 27 FINAL
Texas State 45
Kent State 0 Cancelled
Buffalo 0
Texas-El Paso 13 FINAL
Rice 31
Air Force 14 FINAL
San Diego St 30
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Utah State 41
Char Southern 11:00 AM
(9) Georgia
South Alabama 11:00 AM
So Carolina
Rutgers 11:00 AM
(10) Michigan State
Minnesota 11:00 AM
(21) Nebraska
Northwestern 11:00 AM
Purdue
(18) Marshall 11:00 AM
UAB
Indiana 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Penn State 11:00 AM
Illinois
(14) Eastern Ky 11:00 AM
Florida
TX-San Antonio 11:00 AM
Western Ky
SMU 11:00 AM
UCF
Virginia Tech 11:30 AM
Wake Forest
Washington St 12:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Louisiana Tech 12:00 PM
Old Dominion
Western Mich 12:00 PM
Central Mich
Kansas 12:30 PM
(23) Oklahoma
New Mexico 12:30 PM
(22) Colorado State
Eastern Mich 1:00 PM
Ball State
Appalachian St 1:00 PM
Louisiana
Tulsa 2:00 PM
Houston
(15) Arizona 2:30 PM
(20) Utah
FIU 2:30 PM
North Texas
(8) Ole Miss 2:30 PM
Arkansas
Louisville 2:30 PM
Notre Dame
Maryland 2:30 PM
Michigan
Texas Tech 2:30 PM
Iowa State
(14) Wisconsin 2:30 PM
Iowa
Syracuse 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Boston College 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Georgia State 2:30 PM
Clemson
Tulane 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Stanford 3:00 PM
California
Western Carolina 3:00 PM
(2) Alabama
ULM 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
So Florida 3:00 PM
Memphis
Colorado 3:30 PM
(3) Oregon
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Samford 6:00 PM
(16) Auburn
Miami-Florida 6:00 PM
Virginia
Vanderbilt 6:30 PM
(4) Miss State
(19) Missouri 6:30 PM
Tennessee
Oklahoma State 6:30 PM
(6) Baylor
(24) USC 7:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Cincinnati 7:00 PM
Connecticut
Boise State 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9:30 PM
Washington
Fresno State 9:30 PM
Nevada
UNLV 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Ohio U 11/25/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(5) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
(21) Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(18) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(19) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(15) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(11) UCLA
(22) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
BYU 11/29/14 2:00 AM
California
(20) Utah 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Colorado
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Oregon State
Kentucky 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Louisville
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(24) USC
So Carolina 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Clemson
Florida 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(1) Florida State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(25) Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
Montreal 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/23/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
TBA 11/30/14 5:00 PM
TBA
Grand Canyon 11:00 AM
Austin Peay
Bowling Green 11:00 AM
Milwaukee
St Bonaventure 11:30 AM
Detroit
Illinois-Chicago 12:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
Louisiana Tech 12:00 PM
Louisiana
MD-Eastern Shore 12:00 PM
Marshall
Butler 12:00 PM
Fairfield
Central Conn St 1:00 PM
UMass Lowell
Bucknell 1:00 PM
Fairleigh Dickinson
St Marys-CA 1:00 PM
UC Davis
UNC-Asheville 1:00 PM
South Florida
Colgate 1:00 PM
Drexel
Niagara 1:00 PM
Buffalo
Vermont 1:00 PM
Boston U
Marist 1:00 PM
Northeastern
UNC-Wilmington 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Duquesne 1:00 PM
Green Bay
Saint Josephs 1:00 PM
Liberty
Army 1:00 PM
Manhattan
Eastern Michigan 1:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Southern Ill 1:00 PM
Wright State
Youngstown St 1:00 PM
Radford
Stetson 1:30 PM
Indiana State
Rockhurst 2:00 PM
UMKC
Ark-Little Rock 2:00 PM
Rice
(23) Syracuse 2:00 PM
Jacksonville
NC Central 2:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
New Orleans 2:00 PM
Jacksonville St
(22) Rutgers 2:00 PM
LSU
Missouri State 2:00 PM
(21) Oklahoma St
Eastern Washington 2:00 PM
SMU
Houston Baptist 2:00 PM
Texas State
TX-Arlington 2:05 PM
Wichita State
(9) Maryland 2:30 PM
George Washington
Presbyterian 2:30 PM
Western Carolina
St Francis-NY 3:00 PM
Rider
Central Arkansas 3:00 PM
Jackson State
Kennesaw St 3:00 PM
Georgia Southern
Loyola-Chicago 3:00 PM
Northern Ky
Howard 3:00 PM
La Salle
San Jose St 4:00 PM
Cal-Irvine
Tennessee St 4:00 PM
Lipscomb
San Francisco 4:00 PM
UC-Riverside
Temple 4:00 PM
Kansas
San Diego 4:00 PM
Idaho
Concordia (OR) 4:00 PM
(20) Oregon State
Corban 4:00 PM
Portland State
Charleston Southern 5:00 PM
Wofford
UT Martin 5:00 PM
Pepperdine
Eastern Kentucky 5:00 PM
Mercer
Weber State 5:00 PM
Utah Valley U
North Dakota 5:30 PM
Towson
Seton Hall 6:00 PM
Penn State
LSU-Shreveport 6:00 PM
Grambling
Brown 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Penn 6:00 PM
Navy
Xavier 6:00 PM
Binghamton
Georgetown 6:30 PM
Alabama
(13) Kentucky 7:00 PM
Central Michigan
Texas Southern 7:00 PM
TCU
South Dakota St 7:00 PM
(18) DePaul
Talladega 7:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Arkansas State 7:00 PM
Colorado
Alcorn State 7:00 PM
UAB
Tenn Tech 7:05 PM
Valparaiso
Dayton 7:30 PM
(19) Iowa
Nevada 8:30 PM
BYU
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 am
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pm

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Gophers and Vikings do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close