Sampson to try out for national squad

Also, volleyball lands nation’s top recruiting class.

Gophers sophomore-to-be center Ralph Sampson III will have a chance to make the USA under-19 basketball team that will compete in New Zealand in July. Sampson is one of 17 players selected to try out for the team at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., from June 16-18. A selection committee, headed by Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, will cut five players and announce the final team June 17, with the team leaving for New Zealand on June 25. The championships will be held July 2-12. Sampson started most of the season for the Gophers, averaging 6.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. He spent the season competing with the teamâÄôs other freshman big man, Colton Iverson , but ended up playing more minutes and finished with better statistics than Iverson in most categories. Coach Tubby Smith expressed general satisfaction with Sampson’s development throughout the season. Sampson is one of two Big Ten players at the camp, along with Northwestern’s John Shurna, though Purdue’s head coach Matt Painter will be an assistant coach. Pittsburgh’s head coach Jamie Dixon will be the head coach of the national squad.

Volleyball lands nation’s top recruiting class

The Gophers volleyball team’s 2009 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the nation by this week, a website that ranks recruiting classes each year. The list was based solely on incoming freshman from the United States, and the Gophers brought in several high-ranking recruits, including middle blocker Jasmine Dittrich (Rochester, Minn.), right-side hitter Katherine Harms (Albertville, Minn.), middle blocker Brianna Haugen (Minneapolis, Minn.) and setter Mia Tabberson (Muncie, Ind.). They also have two incoming transfers in senior setter Taylor Carico and 6-1 senior right-side hitter Megan Wilson. Outside hitter Tabitha Love (Dauphin, Manitoba) was not included in the ranking because she is Canadian. âÄúOur assistant coaches have done a great job putting together this recruiting class, and they deserve a lot of credit for the high ranking of this incoming group,âÄù Gophers head coach Mike Hebert said in the release. “This group of incoming freshmen are as good as any class we have had come in here from a talent standpoint, and we look forward to getting them into program and blending with an accomplished returning core of players.” It is the first time the volleyball team has had a top recruiting class, according the release, but the squad did have top-5 classes in 2003, 2005 and 2007.


-The Gophers football team will have five honorary captains and an honorary coach for their Sept. 12 opening game at TCF Bank Stadium, head coach Tim Brewster announced this week. Former coach Murray Warmath will be the honorary head coach, and honorary captains will include Bobby Bell, Billy Bye, Bud Grant, Bob McNamara and Sandy Stephens (who will be represented by his brother Ray). âÄúThis group really represents the greatest glory of Gopher Football,âÄù Brewster said in a release. âÄúI couldnâÄôt be more thrilled to have these men represent our football program on such an historic day âÄî the opening of TCF Bank Stadium.âÄù -The Gophers women’s basketball team added Leigh Gregory , a young coach who spent single seasons with Denver and Santa Clara, as an assistant coach this week. Gregory will take the place of Marisa Moseley, who left the program for a job with Connecticut. -Senior wrestler Dustin Schlatter earned a World Championship berth Sunday by defeating IllinoisâÄô Travis Paulson. Schlatter, a former national champion, will join the U.S. World Team for the first time. Fellow wrestler Ryland Geiger will join the U.S. Junior World Team in Ankara, Turkey in August. Geiger, a freshman, was 19-3 in the 197-pound division as a freshman for the Gophers this season.