Walker, Kidd-Gilchrist to Play in Rising Stars Challenge

January 30, 2013

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The NBA today announced that Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker and forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist have been selected to play in the 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, February 15, during NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston.

“We are very excited that both Kemba and Michael were selected to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge this year,” said Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins. “It speaks volumes that two of our last three first-round draft selections have been recognized as elite players from their class for their on-court performance.”

Walker, who is averaging 17.9 points, 5.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals in 35.0 minutes this season, is ranked among the league leaders in five statistical categories including steals (6th), steals per turnover (T-17th), assists (T-18th), scoring (19th) and minutes played (36th). His current streak of 15 consecutive games is the longest double-figure scoring streak of his career and longest by a Bobcats player since 2011.

He is joined by fellow second-year players Kenneth Faried (Denver), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland), Brandon Knight (Detroit), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio), Chandler Parsons (Houston), Klay Thompson (Golden State), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland) and Nikola Vucevic (Orlando).

Kidd-Gilchrist, who is averaging 9.9 points and 6.0 rebounds in 26.7 minutes this season, is one of only nine rookies to have started at least 25 games this season. He is ranked in the Top 10 among all NBA Rookies in blocks (4th), rebounding (T-4th), steals (T-9th), assists (T-8th) and minutes played (8th). On Nov. 10 against Dallas and Dec. 19 against Phoenix, he posted 25 points and 12 rebounds, joining Miami’s LeBron James as the only two players in NBA history to tally at least 25 points and 12 rebounds in a game twice before their 20th birthday. He was also selected by the NBA as the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for November.

Joining Kidd-Gilchrist among the rookie selections are his college teammate Anthony Davis (New Orleans), Harrison Barnes (Golden State), Bradley Beal (Washington), Andre Drummond (Detroit), Damian Lillard (Portland), Alexey Shved (Minnesota), Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller (Cleveland).

The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge -- televised live nationally on TNT at 9 p.m. ET and broadcast live on ESPN Radio, with live audio also available on NBA.com in multiple languages -- features two teams each consisting of nine rookies and sophomores mixed together, drafted from a pool selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches.

This marks the second straight year rookies and sophomores will be mixed together on teams. The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge Draft is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 7, televised exclusively on TNT at 7 p.m. ET. TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal will again serve as the general managers of TEAM CHUCK and TEAM SHAQ.

The last time the Bobcats were represented in the Rising Stars Challenge by both a rookie and sophomore player in the same game was during the 2006-07 season when Raymond Felton and Adam Morrison were selected.