Utah Jazz: Rookie Trey Burke selected to play in Rising Stars Challenge game
Matt Gade, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz will have at least one representative at NBA All-Star 2014 next month in New Orleans.
Point guard Trey Burke is among 18 rookies and sophomores to be selected to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge on Feb. 14.
The reigning Western Conference rookie of the month, who's averaging 13.3 points, 5.7 assists and 3.1 rebounds, will be the eighth Utah Jazz player to participate in the event. Others have included: Bryon Russell (1994), Andrei Kirilenko (2002, '03), Deron Williams (2006, '07), Paul Millsap (2007, '08), Ronnie Brewer (2008), and Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward (2012).
"It’s an honor to be chosen to the Rising Stars Challenge and to be able to represent the Jazz during All-Star Weekend,” Burke said. "The coaching staff and my teammates here in Utah have put me in a position to earn this recognition. I am thankful for this opportunity and look forward to playing in the game."
Other participants of note include former Weber State star Damian Lillard, New Orleans big man Anthony Davis, 2014 rookie of the year frontrunner Michael Carter-Williams, Golden State's Harrison Barnes and Washington's Bradley Beal.
The 18 players, chosen by NBA assistant coaches, will be drafted onto mixed teams by to-be-determined general managers in a live TNT-televised event on Feb. 6.
Rookies invited include: Burke, Carter-Williams, Steven Adams (Thunder), Pero Antic (Hawks), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Tim Hardaway, Jr. (Knicks), Victor Oladipo (Magic), Kelly Olynyk (Celtics) Mason Plumlee (Nets).
Sophomores: Lillard, Davis, Barnes, Beal, Andre Drummond (Pistons), Terrence Jones (Rockets), Jared Sullinger (Celtics), Jonas Valanciunas (Raptors) and Dion Waiters (Cavaliers).
Fans will be able to vote for Rising Stars Challenge starters for each team after the Feb. 6 draft. The teams will be coached by lead assistants from the All-Star Game coaching staffs (Pacers and Thunder).
Burke, the No. 9 pick whom the Jazz traded for on draft night, has worked his way into the rookie of the year discussion after missing the first 12 games of the season with a broken finger.
Utah, which began the season with a 1-14 record, has gone 15-15 since Burke was inserted into the starting lineup. The 2013 NCAA player of the year, who led Michigan to the title game, has hit double figures in scoring 24 times this season, including a rookie-best 30-point outing in Orlando.
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