Rookie vs Sophomore Team Mix-Up February 09, 2012 11:06

In years gone by, the Rookie vs Sophomore game has always been a show of the best new talent to come into the league, against the players who have already had a year long taste of the NBA.

However, this year things are going to be a little bit different. The Rising Stars Challenge, as it is now called, will for the first time, be two teams made up of a mixture of rookies and sophomores.

Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley will be general managers for the two teams (Team Shaq and Team Chuck). Kenny Smith has been assigned as honorary commissioner for the game.

TV analyst Steve Kerr will join Team Shaq's coaching staff, while fellow analyst, Mike Fratello, will be joining Team Chuck, as a member of his coaching staff. The lead assistant coaches from the All-Star Game's coaching staffs will be the head coaches of the Rising Stars Challenge.

GM's (Shaq and Barkley) will draft their nine man teams on the televised, Rising Stars Challenge Draft, on Thursday 16th Feb.

The pool of players shown below for the Rising Stars Challenge were all selected by assistant coaches within the NBA, with each team getting one ballot.

  • MarShon Brooks, New Jersey - R
  • DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento - 1
  • Landry Fields, New York - 1
  • Paul George, Indiana - 1
  • Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers - 1
  • Gordon Hayward, Utah - 1
  • Kyrie Irving, Cleveland  - R
  • Brandon Knight, Detroit - R
  • Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio - R
  • Greg Monroe, Detroit - 1
  • Markieff Morris, Phoenix - R
  • Ricky Rubio, Minnesota - R
  • Tiago Splitter, San Antonio - 1
  • Tristan Thompson, Cleveland - R
  • Evan Turner, Philadelphia - 1
  • John Wall, Washington - 1
  • Kemba Walker, Charlotte - R
  • Derrick Williams, Minnesota - R