Lillard named to Rising Stars Challenge

Lillard named to Rising Stars Challenge
January 30, 2013, 1:00 pm
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Today the NBA announced that Damian Lillard will be headed to Houston for All Star Weekend as a member of the Rising Stars Challenge game. The full release from the team is below. Throughout All Star weekend be sure to check back frequently here at CSNNW.com as our very own Chris Haynes will be on the ground in Houston for all your coverage of Lillard and Aldridge as they represent your Portland Trail Blazers.

OFFICIAL TEAM RELEASE:

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard Damian Lillard was selected as a participant in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge game at NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston by a vote of NBA assistant coaches, it was announced today by the league.

Lillard leads all rookies in scoring (18.1 ppg) and assists (6.5 apg) to go with averages of 3.3 rebounds, 1.04 steals and 38.4 minutes in 45 games (all starts).

“It’s exciting to be a part of All-Star Weekend, and I appreciate the assistant coaches including me on the roster,” said Lillard. “I’m happy to be named to the team and look forward to the experience.”

The two-time Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month ranks 18th in the NBA in scoring, 13th in assists, seventh in 3-pointers made (102) and his 21 games of 20-plus points rank 12th among league leaders.

“Damian has been an integral part of our success this season and I’m glad his efforts were recognized by opposing assistant coaches,” said Trail Blazers General Manager Neil Olshey.

This year’s rookie-sophomore game will feature two teams drafted by TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal, who will serve as the opposing general managers. Each team will have nine-man rosters, consisting of both NBA rookies and sophomores drafted from a pool that was previously selected by the NBA's assistant coaches.

“Damian has been a crowd-pleaser for fans in Portland night in and night out this season,” said Trail Blazers President and CEO Chris McGowan. “I’m thrilled that he’ll have an opportunity to do it on a global stage at All-Star Weekend.”

Lillard’s appearance in the game is the 10th by a Trail Blazer, joining rookies Arvydas Sabonis (1996), Kelvin Cato (1998), Alvin Williams (1998), Brandon Roy (2007), Greg Oden (2009) and Rudy Fernandez (2009). Roy (2008), LaMarcus Aldridge (2008) and Wesley Matthews (2011) were voted to the game as sophomores.

The game will tip-off at Houston’s Toyota Center on Friday, Feb. 15, at 6 p.m. (Pacific) and will be broadcast live on TNT.