DeJuan Blair & Gary Neal Selected For 2011 Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam

 

NEW YORK, Feb. 1, 2011 – Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans, the reigning Rookie of the Year, and Los Angeles Clippers rookie forward Blake Griffin, the only player in the NBA averaging at least 20 points, 12 rebounds and three assists, lead a list of 18 players selected for the 2011 Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam to be held on Friday, Feb. 18, in Los Angeles during NBA All-Star 2011.

The participants in the Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam were selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches, with each team submitting one ballot.

Joining Evans on the Sophomore team are: San Antonio Spurs center DeJuan Blair, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson, Philadelphia 76ers guard Jrue Holiday, Oklahoma City Thunder forward/center Serge Ibaka, Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings and Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews.

Washington Wizards guard John Wall, the top selection in the 2010 NBA Draft, joins Griffin on the Rookie team, which also includes: Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, New Jersey Nets forward Derrick Favors, New York Knicks guard Landry Fields, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Wesley Johnson, Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe and San Antonio Spurs guard Gary Neal.

Last year in Dallas, the Rookies won for the first time since 2002. San Antonio’s Blair scored 22 points and grabbed a Rookie Challenge-record 23 rebounds in the Rookies’ 140-128 win. His performance marked the first 20-20 game in the history of the Rookie Challenge since the event was added to All-Star Weekend in 2000. Neal’s selection to this year’s game marks the fourth San Antonio player to participate in this event. Tony Parker played in the 2002 Rookie Challenge and Manu Ginobili was selected for the 2003 game as a replacement for Rockets center Yao Ming but did not participate due to injury.

The head coaches for the Rookie and Sophomore teams will be the lead assistants from the 2011 NBA All-Star Game coaching staffs. The San Antonio Spurs coaching staff earned the right to lead the West All-Stars last week; assistant coach Mike Budenholzer will lead the Rookie team. The East coaching staff will be determined by the best record in each conference through games played Feb. 6.

Assistant coaches for the Rookies are All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks and NBA TV/TNT analyst Kevin McHale. The assistant coaches for the Sophomores are All-Star Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets and TNT NBA basketball analyst Steve Kerr.

The Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam will be televised live nationally on TNT at 9 p.m. ET and also will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio, while NBA.com will make live audio available to fans in multiple languages.

The Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam began its current format pitting the Rookies against the Sophomores in 2000 and the Sophomores hold an 8-3 advantage over the first-year players. The game will be played in two 20-minute halves. Individual foul totals will be kept, but a player cannot foul out. A team will be in the penalty situation after 10 team fouls or after the second foul in the final two minutes of each half. In the event of a tie game, there will be a two-minute overtime to determine the winner. The clock will stop after each successful field goal in the last minute of each half.

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 Shootout, Skills Challenge, Haier Shooting Stars and NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas.