Ralph Sampson III declares for NBA draft

Josh Katzenstein

Gophers center Ralph Sampson III was among 89 players on the 2011 NBA draft early-entry list released by the league today.

Sampson has until May 8 to withdraw from the draft pool and can return to Minnesota for his final year of eligibility as long as he doesn’t hire an agent. The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Sampson would be a senior next season coming off the heels of a junior season in which he averaged 10.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.

ESPN NBA insider Chad Ford has Sampson on a list of players “who have declared but will likely go undrafted.”

Second-team All-Big Ten forward Trevor Mbakwe did not declare for the draft by Sunday’s early-entry deadline and has indicated that he plans to return for his senior season at Minnesota.