The Charlotte Bobcats and two of their players got some good news on Wednesday when the NBA announced that second year guard Kemba Walker and rookie forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist have been selected to play in the 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, February 15, during NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston.
The last time the Bobcats were represented in the Rising Stars Challenge by both a rookie and sophomore player in the same game was during the 2006-07 season when Raymond Felton and Adam Morrison were selected.
“We are very excited that both Kemba and Michael were selected to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge this year,” said Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins in a release. “It speaks volumes that two of our last three first-round draft selections have been recognized as elite players from their class for their on-court performance.”
The 22-year old Walker out of the University of Connecticut is averaging 17.9 points which is 19th best in the league, 5.8 assists (t-18th), 3.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals (6th) in 35.0 minutes this season. In addition, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Bronx native is tied for 17th in steals per turnover, and 36th in minutes played and is currently on a run of a 15 game double-figure scoring streak, the longest of his career.
Kidd-Gilchrist is still a teenager and at 19 is averaging 9.9 points and 6.0 rebounds in 26.7 minutes. He is one of only nine rookies to have started at least 25 games this season and was selected by the NBA as the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for November.
On Nov. 10 against Dallas and Dec. 19 against Phoenix, Kidd-Gilchrist posted 25 points and 12 rebounds, joining Miami’s LeBron James as the only two players in NBA history to tally at least 25 points and 12 rebounds in a game twice before their 20th birthday.
Other sophomores joining Walker will be Kenneth Faried (Denver), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland), Brandon Knight (Detroit), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio), Chandler Parsons (Houston), Klay Thompson (Golden State), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland) and Nikola Vucevic (Orlando).
Rookie selections are Kidd-Gilchrist, his college teammate Anthony Davis (New Orleans), Harrison Barnes (Golden State), Bradley Beal (Washington), Andre Drummond (Detroit), Damian Lillard (Portland), Alexey Shved (Minnesota), Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller (Cleveland).
This marks the second straight year rookies and sophomores will be mixed together on teams. TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal will again serve as the general managers of TEAM CHUCK and TEAM SHAQ.