Wiggins, Okafor & LaVine selected to the 2016 Rising Stars Challenge

The NBA announced that Minnesota Timberwolves sophomores Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins, along with rookie Jahlil Okafor will participate in the 2016 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge. LaVine and Okafor will team up on the U.S. Team and Wiggins will suit up for the World Team.

Wiggins, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, was voted as the 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year after leading all rookies in scoring last year with 16.9 ppg. Wiggins took home 2015 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge MVP honors after a 22-point performance as the World Team defeated the U.S. Team 121-112. This season, Wiggins has upped his scoring average to 20.8 ppg, ranking 15th in the NBA in that category. He has tallied 30+ points five times this season and scored 20+ points 25 times. Wiggins scored a career-high 35 points Jan. 8 vs. Cleveland.

LaVine, the No. 13 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and NBA 2015 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest Champion, is averaging 12.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists this season and has tallied 20+ points eight times. As a rookie, LaVine averaged 10.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 77 games. Playing for the U.S. Team, LaVine scored a game-high-tying 22 points in the 2015 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge.

Okafor is averaging a team-leading 17.4 points per game, in addition to 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. The third overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, Okafor has scored at least 20 points in 18 of his first 41 career games, leading all rookies in that category. He is the first center to score at least 712 points through his first 41 games since Orlando’s Shaquille O’Neal (967) and Charlotte’s Alonzo Mourning (768) each did so in 1992-93 (per Basketball-Reference). Okafor leads all rookies in points per game (17.4) and minutes per game (30.8).

This season the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star 2016 in Toronto will feature a format that was introduced last season pitting first- and second-year NBA players from the United States against first- and second-year NBA players from around the world.

The NBA’s annual showcase of premier first- and second-year players is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 12, at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. TNT will televise the 22nd BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge at 9 p.m. ET as part of Turner Sports’ 31st year of NBA All-Star coverage. BBVA Compass is the Official Bank of the NBA in the United States and maintains its role as title partner for the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge.

 

By: NBA.com

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