Five Wildcats to Participate in NBA All-Star Weekend
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The 2015 NBA All-Star weekend in New York will have a blue feel to it as five former Wildcats have been selected to participate in various All-Star Weekend festivities.
Anthony Davis and John Wall were selected to the NBA All-Star Game as starters while DeMarcus Cousins will make his first career appearances as a reserve. Nerlens Noel, who is in his rookie season in the NBA after sitting out last year while he recovered from knee surgery, was selected to the Rising Stars Challenge. Brandon Knight will participate in the Skills Challenge.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 12, 2015
Noel will kick the festivities off on Friday in the Rising Stars. The league's annual showcase of premier young talent will debut a format that pits 10 first- and second-year NBA players from the United States against 10 first- and second-year NBA players from around the world. The game is set for Friday, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.Noel is averaging 8.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game for the Philadelphia 76ers in his first season.
On Saturday night, Knight will participate in the Skills Challenge. The Skills Challenge features a head-to-head, bracket-style tournament format for the first time. All-Star Saturday Night begins at 7:30 p.m. and also includes the Slam Dunk, Three-Point Contest and Shooting Stars competition.
The Skills Challenge format calls for two players to compete simultaneously on an identical course with the fastest finisher reaching the next round.
Knight is logging 17.8 points, 5.4 assists and 4.3 rebounds per night for the Milwaukee Bucks.
The 64th annual NBA All-Star Game will be played Sunday at Madison Square Garden and will feature Cousins and Wall. Davis, who was selected to start in the game, elected to not participate after suffering a recent shoulder injury. The selection to the All-Star game is the first for Cousins and the second for Davis and Wall. The game will air live at 8:30 p.m. on TNT.
Davis led the West frontcourt in fan voting with 1,369,911 to start in the All-Star Game. Only Golden State's Stephen Curry and Cleveland's LeBron James received more votes. At age 21, Davis would have been the youngest starter in this year's game. A breakout performer in this third-season with the New Orleans Pelicans, Davis is averaging 24.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 1.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He leads the NBA in player efficiency rating and is among the league leaders in double-doubles.
Wall earned his first All-Star starting nod after receiving the most votes in the East among guards with 886,368. Making his second appearance, Wall scored 12 points and had four assists in his first appearance in the All-Star game in 2014. He is currently logging 17.4 points, an NBA-best 10.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game for the Wizards this season. He too is among the NBA's leaders in double-doubles.
Cousins was selected for his first career All-Star Game appearance after replacing injured Kobe Bryant on the West roster. The former UK All-American is averaging 23.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per night for the Sacramento Kings. He's logged 33 double-doubles this season, second in the NBA.
Kentucky is one of only two schools (Wake Forest) to be represented by three players in the All-Star Game.
For the latest on the Kentucky men's basketball team, follow @KentuckyMBB on Twitter and on the web at UKathletics.com.