Lakers guards D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson were selected by the NBA on Wednesday to participate in the Feb. 12 Rising Stars Challenge in Toronto during All-Star weekend.
Formerly known as the rookie/sophomore game, the league changed the format least year to feature the best American-born first and second year players against similar international players.
In addition to Russell and Clarkson, the U.S. team will include Karl-Anthony Towns and Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel of the Philadelphia 76ers, Rodney Hood of the Utah Jazz, Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics, Elfrid Payton of the Orlando Magic and Jabari Parker of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Fellow Lakers Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., Anthony Brown and Tarik Black were not selected.
The World team will include Andrew Wiggins of the Timberwolves, Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks, Dwight Powell of the Dallas Mavericks, Clint Capela of the Houston Rockets, Mario Hezonja of the Magic, Nikola Jokic and Emmanuel Mudiay of the Denver Nuggets, Bojan Bogdanovic of the Brooklyn Nets, Nikola Mirotic of the Chicago Bulls and Raul Neto of the Jazz.
Lakers rookie guard Marcelo Huertas was left off the list.
Clarkson had hoped to represent the Philippines on the international squad, but the NBA based the criteria on birth country, not descent.
“I think it would be cool to represent the Philippines and the country,” Clarkson said on Monday at the prospect of being selected for the event. “I’m just happy to be playing, because even if I’m on the USA team I’ll be representing the country.”
Despite eventually earning all-rookie honors by the NBA last year, Clarkson was overlooked for last year’s exhibition.
The rosters were put together by the NBA’s assistant coaches, selecting four guards, four frontcourt players and two wildcard players at either position, for each squad. A minimum of three first-year and three second-year players were required for each team.
Other Lakers who have participated in the event, when it was known as the rookie/sophomore game, include Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Andrew Bynum, Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, Jordan Farmar and Travis Knight.