Wizards’ Bradley Beal chosen for Rising Stars Challenge

January 30, 2013
Keep rising. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Keep rising. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Wizards rookie Bradley Beal has been selected for the 18-player talent pool to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge during all-star weekend in Houston.

Beal keeps the string alive for Wizards representation in the event, after John Wall played in the game the past two years, claiming MVP honors while leading the rookies to victory in 2011 in Los Angeles.

Through his first 41 games, Beal ranks third in scoring among rookies at 13.2 points per game. He was named Eastern Conference rookie of the month for December and is a favorite to claim the honors again after averaging 15.1 points in January. The third overall pick from Florida, Beal is also contributing 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

“Well deserved,” Coach Randy Wittman said. “I think that’s great. It’s another thing that he’s got to keep continuing to develop. Keep improving. Keep taking his level of play to the next level.”

Beal will be joined by fellow rookies Anthony Davis, the No. 1 overall pick of New Orleans, Damian Lillard (Portland), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte), Harrison Barnes (Golden State), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Alexey Shved (Minnesota), Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller (Cleveland).

None of the Wizards’ second-year players were invited, but the nine sophomores will include Cleveland all-star point guard Kyrie Irving, who was MVP of the contest last season after scoring 34 points. The rest of the team will be filled by Kenneth Faried (Denver), Brandon Knight (Detroit), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio), Chandler Parsons (Houston), Klay Thompson (Golden State), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland), Nikola Vucevic (Orlando), and Kemba Walker (Charlotte).

The rookies and sophomores will again be mixed up for the second year in a row, with TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal selecting players during the Feb. 7 telecast of Inside the NBA. But unlike last season, fans will be allowed to vote for the starting lineups – two backcourt players and three frontcourt players – for Team Shaq and Team Chuck. The game will be played on Feb. 15 at Toyota Center.

Beal will be forced to miss the Wizards’ game on Wednesday against Philadelphia with a sore right wrist.

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.
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Michael Lee | January 30, 2013