Jazz News

Gordon Hayward Named to 2012 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge

SALT LAKE CITY (February 8, 2012) – The NBA announced today that Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward is among 18 players selected for the 2012 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, February 24 in Orlando, during NBA All-Star 2012. Hayward is Utah’s first participant in the event since Ronnie Brewer and Paul Millsap participated in 2008.

The participants in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge were selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches, with each team submitting one ballot.

Selected by the Jazz (ninth overall) in the 2010 NBA Draft, Hayward (6-8, 210, Butler) has started all 24 games for the Jazz in his sophomore season, averaging 9.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 28.3 minutes. The former Butler Bulldog has improved his numbers across the board from a season ago, increasing his averages by 4.4 points, 1.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 11.4 minutes per game. Hayward has posted new career-highs in assists (eight vs. Cleveland 1/10) and steals (four vs. Dallas 1/19) this season. He has already reached double figures in scoring 12 times this season, after accomplishing the feat 15 times as a rookie.

Hayward will be the sixth player in Jazz history to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge, joining Bryon Russell (1994), Andrei Kirilenko (2002, 2003), Deron Williams (2006, 2007), Paul Millsap (2007, 2008) and Ronnie Brewer (2008).

This year, a new format is being implemented to a game that has historically featured NBA rookies facing off against sophomores. For the first time, rookies and sophomores will be mixed together on teams. TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal will serve as the general managers of the two opposing teams - TEAM CHUCK and TEAM SHAQ - each with nine man rosters, drafted from the aforementioned pool. TNT’s Kenny Smith will serve as the honorary Commissioner and Ernie Johnson will host the live BBVA Rising Stars Challenge Draft on Thursday, Feb. 16, on NBA TV at 7 p.m. ET.

TNT Analysts Mike Fratello and Steve Kerr will be part of the coaching staffs for the teams, with Fratello joining TEAM CHUCK and Kerr joining TEAM SHAQ. The head coaches for both teams will be the lead assistant coaches from the 2012 NBA All-Star Game coaching staffs. The East and West coaching staffs will be determined by the best record in each conference through games played Feb. 15.

The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge will be televised live nationally on TNT at 7 p.m. MT and also will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio, while NBA.com will make live audio available to fans in multiple languages. NBA games are broadcast to 215 countries and territories in more than 40 languages.

NBA All-Star brings together the top NBA players and performers for a week of competition, community service and world-class entertainment. Among the many other exciting All-Star events are Sprite Slam Dunk, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Haier Shooting Stars and NBA All-Star Jam Session.