Not until Saturday was it clear just how good an offensive player Sampson has become. To say he was overshadowed in Virginia's first 12 games would be inaccurate, but so many other things about the team commanded attention. Like the way the speedy Wilson has helped turn Virginia from the patterned, Jeff Lamp-from-the-corner club of last season to the quick-break, wide-open team of this year. And the play of freshman Guard Tim Mullen, who has earned a starting role with his southpaw shooting. And the potential of Miller, a high-percentage inside shooter who intends to do magic tricks as a summer job at a McDonald's in Charlottesville. And the contribution of backup Center Kenton Edelin, who's shooting 81% from the floor (21 of 26 through Saturday) after arriving as an unlikely walk-on last year. Heck, Virginia even won two games by an average margin of almost 30 points without Sampson, who broke his right ring finger in the third game of the year.
But even the doubters now know that he's worth every dollar the pros will once again offer him after the season. Further, he has developed into a composed and reasonably articulate young man, who did the college game a favor by refusing the jump to the NBA after being named Player of the Year last year as a sophomore. That's probably why no one rebuked him following Saturday's game when he said, "I think it's debatable who's No. 1. I still think we may be the best team in the country."