For much of the game Sampson seemed content to rebound, throw an outlet pass and hang back to admire his handiwork. But late in the game, when Sampson's critics claimed he used to disappear from Virginia games, he caught fire, igniting the sellout crowd of 10,258 and his teammates. Sampson snuffed a dunk attempt by Gilmore and made an open-court steal.
Then came the pi�ce de r�sistance. Taking an outlet pass from the Nets' Buck Williams at midcourt, Sampson went into a fancy dribble-drive, topping the move off with a double-pumping layup over a wave of defenders that would have made a guard proud. "He's exceptionally quick," the Bullets' Ricky Mahorn said later. "He did things that I've never seen any big man do."
So why were there still nagging questions? "I think he'd make a damned good power forward, but if he plays center he'll definitely need a tough player alongside him," said Williams. "He's not going to be able to do it all alone." Also, Sampson set up offensively on the left side of the court—where he could easily turn for a righthanded hook or dunk—fewer than five times. "I hope his work habits are good," Williams said. "Every night in the NBA someone will be testing him to see what he can do."
After a short stint in August with Golden State Warriors talent consultant Pete Newell's summer workout group for pro players in Los Angeles, Sampson should next be seen in the Rockets' training camp. There, he'll unquestionably make his presence felt. Said one observer, referring to a Houston substitute center, "I think he's got just a little something on Chuck Nevitt."