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Hachimura & Wagner selected to Rising Stars Challenge
Become first Wizards players to play in the game since Bradley Beal in 2014
Washington, DC – The NBA announced today that Wizards rookie forward Rui Hachimura and sophomore forward/center Moe Wagner have been selected among the 10 rookie and sophomore players for Team World to participate in the 2020 Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend on Friday, Feb. 14 in Chicago (8:00 pm on TNT).
“My current focus remains getting back on the court with the Wizards as soon as possible, but I am very honored to be chosen for the Rising Stars Challenge,” said Hachimura. “I look forward to representing the Wizards organization, our fans and the country of Japan during All-Star Weekend.”
“I am very excited to be selected for the Rising Stars Challenge, but I remain dedicated to getting back on the court with my Wizards teammates as soon as possible,” said Wagner. “My improvement this season prior to getting injured shows the confidence they had in me and the work our coaches put in with me, so I’ll be proud to represent them and my home country of Germany in Chicago.”
Hachimura is averaging 13.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists while shooting 48.2 percent from the field despite missing 20 games with a groin injury. His nearly 14-point average ranks third on the Wizards and he leads all rookies in rebounds per game.
The ninth overall selection in the NBA Draft (and first Japanese player ever selected in the first round of the NBA Draft) ranks in the top-five in a number of categories among rookies, including scoring (fourth), rebounding (first), field goals per game (third), free throw percentage (second) and offensive rebounding (second). Additionally, Hachimura ranks first in rebounds and free throw percentage while ranking second in scoring, field goal percentage and minutes per game among international rookies.
In his first season with the Wizards, Wagner is averaging 11.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists while shooting .581 from the field, which are all career highs. Additionally, Wagner is leading the NBA with 0.81 charges drawn per game.
Since the game was formatted to its current World-USA roster in 2015, Hachimura and Wagner are the first Washington players to be selected to the World squad. In total, they are the 10th and 11th players in franchise history to be selected to the Rising Stars Challenge and the first since Bradley Beal in 2014. Both Beal (2013, 2014) and John Wall (2011, 2012) were selected to the contest twice. As a rookie in 2011, Wall was named MVP of the Rising Stars Challenge.
Joining Hachimura and Wagner on Team World are: Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Dončić (Slovenia); New Orleans Pelicans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Canada); Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (Bahamas); New York Knicks guard/forward RJ Barrett (Canada); Memphis Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke (Canada); Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canada); Detroit Pistons guard/forward Svi Mykhailiuk (Ukraine); and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie (Nigeria).
Team USA consists of: Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young; Charlotte Hornets forwards Miles Bridges and PJ Washington and guard Devonte’ Graham; Chicago Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr.; Miami Heat guards Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn; Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and guard Ja Morant; and Golden State Warriors forward Eric Paschall.
About the Rising Stars Challenge: The Rising Stars features a team of 10 first- and second-year players (Rookies and Sophomores) from the United States against a team of 10 first- and second-year players (Rookies and Sophomores) from the “World” (i.e., outside the United States). The 20 players (10 U.S. players, 10 World players) were selected through voting by the NBA’s assistant coaches (one vote per team from the collective of each team’s assistant coaches). Each team includes a minimum of four guards and four frontcourt players, three rookies and three sophomores. The coaching staffs for the Rising Stars game will consist of assistant coaches from the All-Star Game teams.