NEW YORK – The Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns, last season’s unanimous Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, and the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, who has won both Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month awards this season, highlight the list of 20 players selected by the league’s assistant coaches to play in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 17 during NBA All-Star 2017 in New Orleans.
For the third consecutive year, the league’s annual showcase of premier young talent will pit 10 first- and second-year NBA players from the U.S. against 10 first- and second-year NBA players from around the world. The game will be televised live by TNT at 9 p.m. ET and will also be available on the Watch TNT App and on TNT Overtime. In addition, ESPN Radio will broadcast the event from Smoothie King Center, with audio also available on the ESPN app. BBVA Compass, the Official Bank of the NBA, maintains its role as title partner for the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge.
Towns, who helped the U.S. Team defeat the World Team 157-154 in last year’s BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, is one of two NBA players averaging at least 22.0 points and 11.0 rebounds this season (the New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis is the other). The U.S. Team also features the Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker, who is averaging 20.6 points and has scored at least 20 in each of his last 10 games, and the Indiana Pacers’ Myles Turner, who ranks third in the NBA in blocked shots (2.30 bpg) to go with 15.7 points and 7.6 rebounds.
Joining Towns, Booker and Turner on the U.S. Team are Malcolm Brogdon of the Milwaukee Bucks, Marquese Chriss of the Suns, Brandon Ingram and D’Angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers, Frank Kaminsky of the Charlotte Hornets, Jahlil Okafor of the 76ers and Jonathon Simmons of the San Antonio Spurs.
The World Team is anchored by Embiid (Cameroon), who leads all rookies in scoring (19.8 ppg), rebounding (7.8 rpg) and blocks (2.47 bpg), as well as two members of the 2015-16 NBA All-Rookie First Team in Serbian center Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets (15.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 3.9 apg this season) and Latvian forward Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks (18.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.92 bpg). Jokic is one of three Nuggets players on the World Team, along with Emmanuel Mudiay (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Jamal Murray (Canada).
Rounding out the World Team are Danté Exum (Australia) and Trey Lyles (Canada) of the Utah Jazz, Buddy Hield (Bahamas) of the Pelicans, Domantas Sabonis (Lithuania) of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dario Saric (Croatia) of the 76ers.
The World Team features three players who have participated as campers in Basketball without Borders, the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program: Embiid (BWB Africa 2011), Murray (BWB Global 2015) and Saric (BWB Europe 2010).
NBA opening night rosters for the 2016-17 season featured a record 113 international players from a record 41 countries and territories. This marked the third consecutive season that opening night rosters included at least 100 international players and that all 30 teams had at least one international player.
The NBA’s assistant coaches chose the rosters for the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, with each of the league’s 30 teams submitting one ballot per coaching staff. Coaches selected four guards, four frontcourt players and two players at either position group for each team. They also picked a minimum of three first-year players and three second-year players for each team.
The head coaches for the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge will be lead assistant coaches from the 2017 NBA All-Star Game coaching staffs. The East and West coaching staffs are determined by the best record in each conference through games played on Sunday, Feb. 5. Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and his staff have earned the honor for the West, while the East coaching staff has yet to be determined.
BBVA COMPASS RISING STARS CHALLENGE RESULTS
1994 – Phenoms 74, Sensations 68 2006 – Sophomores 106, Rookies 96
1995 – White 83, Green 79 (OT) 2007 – Sophomores 155, Rookies 114
1996 – East 94, West 92 2008 – Sophomores 136, Rookies 109
1997 – East 96, West 91 2009 – Sophomores 122, Rookies 116
1998 – East 85, West 80 2010 – Rookies 140, Sophomores 128
2000 – Rookies 92, Sophomores 83 (OT) 2011 – Rookies 148, Sophomores 140
2001 – Sophomores 121, Rookies 113 2012 – Team Chuck 146, Team Shaq 133
2002 – Rookies 103, Sophomores 97 2013 – Team Chuck 163, Team Shaq 135
2003 – Sophomores 132, Rookies 112 2014 – Team Hill 142, Team Webber 136
2004 – Sophomores 142, Rookies 118 2015 – World Team 121, U.S. Team 112
2005 – Sophomores 133, Rookies 106 2016 – U.S. Team 157, World Team 154
About BBVA Compass
BBVA Compass is a Sunbelt-based financial institution that operates 674 branches, including 345 in Texas, 89 in Alabama, 75 in Arizona, 62 in California, 45 in Florida, 38 in Colorado and 20 in New Mexico. BBVA Compass ranks among the top 25 largest U.S. commercial banks based on deposit market share and ranks among the largest banks in Alabama (2nd), Texas (4th) and Arizona (4th). BBVA Compass was recently named Best Digital Bank in North America by global finance magazine Euromoney and the best regional bank in the South & West and best mobile app in Money magazine’s 2015-2016 list of the Best Banks in America. Additional information about BBVA Compass can be found at bbvacompass.com, by following @BBVACompassNews on Twitter or visiting newsroom.bbvacompass.com.
About NBA All-Star 2017
NBA All-Star 2017 in New Orleans will bring together some of the most talented and passionate players in the league’s history for a global celebration of the game. The 66th NBA All-Star Game, which will take place on Sunday, Feb. 19 at Smoothie King Center, will reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages. TNT will televise the All-Star Game for the 15th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports’ 32nd year of NBA All-Star coverage. Smoothie King Center will also host the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 17 and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on Saturday, Feb. 18. The NBA All-Star Practice, NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and NBA Development League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.