Nikola Vucevic Named to the 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge
January 30, 2013
ORLANDO – Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic was named to the 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge to be played Friday, Feb. 15, in Houston during NBA All-Star 2013, as announced today by the NBA. The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge consists of current rookies and sophomores selected to the roster by the NBA’s assistant coaches.
Vucevic leads all second-year players in rebounding at 11.2 rpg., ranking in the NBA’s top five overall. He also ranks in the top ten among all “sophomores” in field goal percentage, shooting .522, and in scoring at 11.9 ppg. Vucevic is the only second-year player in the NBA averaging a double-double.
Others named to the roster include the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving, the reigning Kia NBA Rookie of the Year and a 2013 NBA All-Star, and rookies Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Hornets and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. Davis, the overall No. 1 selection in the 2012 NBA Draft presented by State Farm, is tied for the rookie lead in rebounds (7.6 rpg) and ranks first in blocks (1.8 bpg). Lillard has won consecutive Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month awards, and is leading first-year players in scoring (18.1 ppg) and assists (6.6 apg).
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.
Joining Vucevic from the Sophomore class are: Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets), Brandon Knight (Detroit Pistons), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), Chandler Parsons (Houston Rockets), Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers), and Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats).
Davis and Lillard lead a group of rookies that includes Harrison Barnes (Warriors) Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Bobcats), Alexey Shved (Minnesota Timberwolves), Dion Waiters (Cavaliers), and Tyler Zeller (Cavaliers).
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. Last year in Orlando, Irving netted a game-high 34 points and MVP honors as he led TEAM CHUCK over TEAM SHAQ 146-133.
Following the announcement of each team on Feb. 7, for the first time ever fans will be able to vote online from both their computer and mobile device for the starters of each team. The starting lineups will be determined by the players garnering the top votes for their respective positions, with two backcourt and three frontcourt spots for each team. The announcement of the starting lineup will be made in broadcast and in-arena on the night of the game.
The head coaches for both teams will be the lead assistant coaches from the 2013 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. 3. The Chicago Bulls’ and Oklahoma City’s staffs, by virtue of having helmed the sidelines of the 2012 All-Star game, are not eligible to coach this year’s game.
A limited number of tickets to the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge are now available. Fans can visit rockets.com or NBA.com/allstar2013 to purchase.
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 is the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night featuring Sears Shooting Stars, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, and Sprite Slam Dunk. Other events at NBA All-Star 2013 include the Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and NBA All-Star Jam Session.