Rubio Named To BBVA Rising Stars Challenge

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Prior to tonight's BBVA Rising Stars Challenge draft, TNT’s Kenny Smith, the Honorary Commissioner of the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, added Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio and Isaiah Thomas of the Sacramento Kings to the player pool. Rubio was selected to play on TEAM CHUCK, coached by TNT analyst Charles Barkley, in the 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 15 at the Toyota Center in Houston.

Rubio joins teammate Alexey Shved, who was selected by a pool of NBA assistant coaches on January 30, and will also be on TEAM CHUCK. The game will tip-off at 8:00 p.m. (CST) and will be broadcast live on TNT. TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal, general managers for the 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, made their player selections live on TNT.

Rubio, 22, will make his second straight Rising Stars Challenge appearance after recording 12 points, seven assists and three rebounds a year ago for TEAM SHAQ. In 21 contests, 11 starts, this season Rubio is averaging 6.1 points, 6.0 assists and 1.7 steals in 24.7 minutes per game. He has upped those numbers to 10.8 points, 10.2 assists and 2.3 steals in 29.7 minutes per game over his last six contests. Monday night vs. Portland he tied a career high with 14 assists, including 10 in the fourth quarter which tied a franchise record for most assists in a quarter by a single player. He followed that effort up with an 11-assist performance last night vs. San Antonio.

Rubio missed the first 20 games of this season recovering from surgery to reconstruct a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and a torn LCL (lateral collateral ligament) in his left knee. A season ago Rubio handed out 10+ assists 15 times and became the youngest player in league history to average 8.2 assists (minimum 30 games). He was also the only rookie to rank among the top 10 in scoring, rebounds and assists a season ago. In 41 games, Rubio completed his rookie season with averages of 10.6 points, 8.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals in 34.2 minutes per contest.

The 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge features two teams drafted by Barkley and O'Neal who will serve as the opposing general managers. Each team has nine man rosters, consisting of both NBA rookies and sophomores drafted from the available pool selected by the NBA's assistant coaches. The head coaches for both teams will be the lead assistant coaches from the 2013 NBA All-Star Game coaching staffs -- Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. Fans will have the opportunity to vote online for who should be in the starting lineup for each team.

The 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge will be played Friday, Feb. 15, in Houston as part of NBA All-Star 2013. During the game, fans will be able to vote for the MVP via Twitter, online and on mobile devices at, through the NBA Game Time and NBA Game Time from Sprint apps, and SMS texting. This is the first time that fans will be able to vote via social media for the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge MVP.

This marks the second straight year rookies and sophomores will be mixed together on teams. Last year in Orlando, Irving netted a game-high 34 points and MVP honors as he led TEAM CHUCK over TEAM SHAQ 146-133.

The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge will be televised live nationally on TNT at 9 p.m. ET and also will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio, while will make live audio available to fans in multiple languages.

For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at