Detroit Pistons Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight Selected For 2012 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge Roster Pool

Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal to serve as GMs and Draft Teams; TNT Analysts Mike Fratello, Steve Kerr to be part of coaching staffs

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – The National Basketball Association announced today that Detroit Pistons players Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight have been selected for the 2012 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge to be held on Friday, Feb. 24, in Orlando during NBA All-Star 2012.

Monroe is one of three Pistons’ players to appear in all 26 games this season, averaging team-highs in points (16.3 ppg) and rebounds (9.9 rpg) in 32.9 minutes per game. Among NBA leaders he ranks 11th in field goal percentage (second among NBA sophomores and third among NBA Eastern Conference centers), 13th in rebounds (third among NBA sophomores and T-3rd among NBA Eastern Conference centers) and 31st in scoring (second among NBA sophomores and NBA Eastern Conference centers). His 10 double-doubles during the month of January were the most for a Pistons player during that month since Bill Laimbeer recorded 14 during the 1986-87 season and Dennis Rodman tallied 11 during the 1991-92 season. Monroe was a member of the Rookie Team during last year’s event at NBA All-Star 2011 in Los Angeles where the Rookies won for the second consecutive year, 148-140.

Knight has appeared in 26 games (20 starts), averaging 12.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 32.0 minutes per game. Amongst NBA rookie leaders the 6-foot-3 guard ranks second in scoring and minutes played, third in field goal percentage (.405), fourth in assists, T-6th in three-point field goal percentage (.352), ninth in steals (0.69 spg) and 10th in rebounds. His 38 three-point field goals made ranks first amongst current NBA rookies and second-most among rookies in Pistons franchise history (Lindsey Hunter – 69).

Joining Monroe from the Sophomore class are: Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), Landry Fields (New York Knicks), Paul George (Indiana Pacers), Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz), Tiago Splitter (San Antonio Spurs), Evan Turner (Philadelphia 76ers), and John Wall (Washington Wizards).

Knight is joined by fellow first-year players Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Ricky Rubio (Minnesota Timberwolves), MarShon Brooks (New Jersey Nets), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats) and Derrick Williams (Minnesota Timberwolves).

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

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 9 p.m. ET and also will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio, while will make live audio available to fans in multiple languages. NBA games are broadcast to 215 countries and territories in more than 40 languages.

Tickets to the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge are available for $35 for the upper bowl and $50 for the lower bowl, and fans can visit to purchase them.

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.

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