Ralph Sampson, Virginia's 7-foot-4 sophmore center, will announce in an unusual manner Sunday whether he will stay in college or put his name in the NBA draft: A taped interview with Sampson will be released Sunday at noon.

Sampson, who led the Cavaliers to a 29-4 record and a third-place finish in the NCAA playoffs, has until midnight Saturday to place his name on the NBA's hardship list for the June 9 draft.The Dallas Mavericks and the Detroit Pistons, who had the worst records in the league this year, will flip a coin to detemine who will pick first. Both clubs have met with Sampson and indicated they will offer him as much as $1 million annually.

University officials, trying to downplay Sampson's decision, decided to forgo the traditional press conference. Instead, the sports information director will meet with Sampson and record Sampson's statement on tape.

"It'll be a press conference of one, me," said Doug Elgin, the Virginia sports information director. "Basically, we wanted to avoid Ralph having to face the pressure of facing the media in the wake of his decision. He really likes Virginia and it's tough for him. I'll get his reasons for his decision and release the statement in his own words."

Sampson, who first considered releasing his decision to CBS-TV live on Saturday afternoon, agreed the tape was a good idea and the least complicated way to inform the public.

"I'll be glad when this is over," Sampson said yesterday in another taped interview conducted by the sports information office.