Cohen: Nik & Drew Both Impressive; Vucevic Wins Bragging Rights for Team Chuck

By Josh Cohen
February 15, 2013

HOUSTON -- Those who get the opportunity to watch Nikola Vucevic and Andrew Nicholson regularly either on local television or in person at Amway Center know how skilled they each are.

Vucevic has become renowned in Orlando for his rebounding aptitude along with his development as an offensive threat.

Nicholson has rapidly impressed with his offensive creativity – both with his fancy footwork and sweet touch with either hand around the basket. Even his 15-to-18 foot jumper has become almost automatic.

After Friday night’s BBVA Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend in Houston, more NBA spectators worldwide are now able to recognize how talented the Orlando Magic’s two young blossoming players are.

While Nicholson posted six points and three rebounds in nine minutes for TEAM SHAQ, Vucevic registered 15 points and four rebounds in nearly 20 minutes for winning TEAM CHUCK.

For the second straight year, Charles Barkley claimed bragging rights over Shaquille O’Neal. And now, Nik can flaunt his way back to Orlando and rub in a friendly victory over Drew.

Naturally in an exhibition that has no real significant meaning other than an opportunity for young emerging talent to showcase their potential, defense is limited and teamwork is far and few between.

These contests are generally guard-dominated. As a result, for both Vucevic and Nicholson to have an impact for their respective teams suggests they were both very deserving of participating in this game.

There were even some plays from the Magic’s pair that had the crowd at the Toyota Center noticeably impressed.

Vucevic has attempted just two 3-pointers all season, but on his one and only crack from beyond the arc, he nailed it.

Nicholson, meanwhile, flushed home a couple of thunderous slam dunks that stirred the crowd.

And it was somewhat amusing when the two would box each other out for rebounds or contest each other’s jumpers.

The goal, obviously, for both Nik and Drew is to eventually return to All-Star Weekend at some point in the future. But instead of playing on Friday night, suit up for the Sunday contest.

"It's a goal and dream of mine to play in the Sunday game (All-Star Game)," Vucevic said. "I know if I keep working hard I will have a chance to accomplish that in the future."

"Sunday night is the highlight of All-Star Weekend," said Nicholson. "It's all the elite players in the NBA so for me to set a goal like that it's definitely worth working hard for."

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