The NBA released the participants for this season’s Rising Stars Challenge on Wednesday, featuring a litany of young potential future stars divided by international waters and, by the time they get to New Orleans, a half court line.
Oklahoma City’s Domantas Sabonis was named to the International team.
The Rising Stars Challenge began in 1994 as a game between Eastern and Western rookie. It evolved into a Rookies vs. Sophomores contest in 2000. In will once again pit stateside talents versus international up and comers. In 2012, the format changed again, having two teams drafted by Hall of Famers. Two years ago, the format was changed to the current where USA takes on the World, where each team should choose at least three Rookies and three sophomores, and the squad of each team should have four back courts, four front courts and two swingmen.
Sabonis, the 11th overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, has started every game during his rookie season and is averaging 6.0 points (Ranked 13th among rookies), 3.4 rebounds (Ranked sixth among rookies) and 1.2 assists in 21.0 minutes per game. The Gonzaga product has scored in double figures seven times and recorded one double-double this season.
The BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge is to be held on Friday, Feb. 17 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans during NBA All-Star 2017.