John Wall has been chosen among the 18 players to participate in the 2012 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge to be held on Friday, Feb. 24, in Orlando during the 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend.
Wall was the game’s MVP last year, with a record-high 22 assists and 12 points, as he helped lead the Rookie team to a 148-140 win over the Sophomore team.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Wall said.
“I’m excited to be going back to the game that we played last year, and won, and I got MVP. It’s a great honor to me and the guys who got voted in.”
Joining Wall from the Sophomore class are: DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), Landry Fields (New York Knicks), Paul George (Indiana Pacers), Blake Griffin (L.A. Clippers), Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz), Greg Monroe (Detroit Pistons), Tiago Splitter (San Antonio Spurs), and Evan Turner (Philadelphia 76ers).
The Rookie class includes: MarShon Brooks (New Jersey Nets), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Brandon Knight (Detroit Pistons), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns), Ricky Rubio (Minnesota Timberwolves), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats), and Derrick Williams (Minnesota Timberwolves).
The player selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches, with each team submitting one ballot. This year, the game will have a different format than the standard rookies vs. sophomores.
For the first time, rookies and sophomores will be mixed together on teams. TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal will serve as the general managers of the two opposing teams - TEAM CHUCK and TEAM SHAQ. Each team will have a nine man roster with players from both classes.
TNT analyst Kenny Smith will serve as the honorary commissioner and TNT studio host Ernie Johnson will host the draft, which will be shown live NBA TV on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m.
TNT analysts Mike Fratello and Steve Kerr will be part of the coaching staffs for the teams. Fratello will assist TEAM CHUCK, and Kerr will assist TEAM SHAQ. The Head Coaches for both teams will be the lead assistant coaches from the 2012 NBA All-Star Game coaching staffs. The East and West coaching staffs will be determined by the best record in each conference through games played Feb. 15.
But, as pleased as Wall is with the honor, he’d prefer to lead the Wizards to a few more wins.
“My hard work is paying off,” Wall said, “but I just want to win basketball games more, so that’s what I’m focused on, really.”