Sampson says he has nothing to prove, and yet he does. What, really, have his teams won? He knows this is no NIT, no United Virginia Bank-Cavalier Invitational, no Clemson, no Chaminade. This might be the game for his future, the No. 1 draft-pick game. This is the challenge of his young life. This is it.
"I recognize that my approach this season has to be different," says Sampson. "It's my last chance to win the national championship. I'll have no excuses. I'm stronger, faster. I can jump higher. I'm in better shape than I've ever been in. I'm going full throttle every game, no slack-offs. My approach to this game is that somebody [Ewing] wants to play hard, so I'll play hard. Let's go at it. Let's get it on. I feel my time has come."
And it has. Somebody tell Patrick Ewing that Ralph Sampson is waiting.