With the 14th pick in Thursday night's 2013 Risings Stars Challenge Draft, Team Chuck captain Charles Barkley selected Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic. The Rising Stars Challenge, more commonly known as the Rookie/Sophomore Game, pits two teams comprised solely of first- and second-year players against one another on the Friday of All-Star Weekend. Barkley and Team Shaq captain Shaquille O`Neal selected the teams. The 2013 edition of the game is set for February 15th at 9 PM on TNT.
"People, they don't even know who Nikola Vucevic is because we're putting the Orlando Magic on TV," Barkley said in evaluating his team. "I made an executive decision: we're not showin' them bums on television at all this year." Studio host Ernie Johnson corrected Barkley's pronunciation of the Magic center's name, to which help Barkley did not take kindly.
Vucevic joins Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, New Orleans Hornets center Anthony Davis, Denver Nuggets power forward Kenneth Faried, Detroit Pistons combo guard Brandon Knight, San Antonio Spurs swingman Kawhi Leonard, Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio, Timberwolves guard Alexey Shved, Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas, and Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Tristan Thompson on Team Chuck. Their opposition: Golden State Warriors swingman Harrison Barnes, Pistons center Andre Drummond, Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving, Charlotte Bobcats gadget forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, Houston Rockets small forward Chandler Parsons, Warriors swingman Klay Thompson, Cavs shooting guard Dion Waiters, Bobcats combo guard Kemba Walker, and Cavs center Tyler Zeller.
Vucevic was the second-to-last big man selected, behind Davis (2nd overall), Faried (4th), Drummond (5th), and Tristan Thompson (12th), but ahead of Zeller.
O'Neal and Barkley have picked their teams, but the starting lineups have yet to be set. Fans will determine those lineups by voting online via a computer or a mobile device. The starting five won't be announced until the night of the game.
In his second season out of USC, Vucevic is averaging 12.1 points, 11.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.2 blocks. He is the only sophomore averaging a double-double.
Vucevic becomes just the fifth player in Magic history to be named to the rookie game at All-Star Weekend. The previous players are Anfernee Hardaway (1994), Mike Miller (2001 and 2002), Dwight Howard (2005 and 2006), and Jameer Nelson (2006).
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