There's no question that Cleveland Cavaliers rookie point guard Kyrie Irving would be named to the 2012 NBA Rising Stars roster. Fortunately for the Cavs, teammate Tristan Thompson will be attending as well as one of nine first-year players selected by NBA assistant coaches to participate in this All-Star event.
In the past, the game featured the NBA's top rookie and sophomores going head-to-head but this year the league is changing things up. The selected players will be in a pool and then "drafted" in playground fashion by "general managers" Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley.
TNT's Kenny Smith will serve as the honorary Commissioner and Ernie Johnson will host the live Rising Stars Challenge Draft on Thursday, Feb. 16, on NBA TV at 7 p.m. ET. The game itself will be televised live nationally on TNT at 9 p.m. ET.
For more on the stats that earned Irving and Thompson their first trip to an NBA All-Star event, see the press release on the Cavaliers web site. The full Rising Stars roster is available after the jump.
MarShon Brooks New Jersey G-F 6-5 200 Providence/USA R
DeMarcus Cousins Sacramento C 6-11 270 Kentucky/USA 1
Landry Fields New York G 6-7 210 Stanford/USA 1
Paul George Indiana G-F 6-8 215 Fresno State/USA 1
Gordon Hayward Utah F 6-8 210 Butler/USA 1
Kyrie Irving Cleveland G 6-3 191 Duke/USA R
Brandon Knight Detroit G 6-3 189 Kentucky/USA R
Kawhi Leonard San Antonio G-F 6-7 225 San Diego State/USA R
Greg Monroe Detroit C 6-11 250 Georgetown/USA 1
Markieff Morris Phoenix F 6-10 245 Kansas/USA R
Ricky Rubio Minnesota G 6-4 180 FC Barcelona/Spain R
Tiago Splitter San Antonio F-C 6-11 240 Saski Baskonia/Brazil 1
Tristan Thompson Cleveland F 6-9 227 Texas/USA R
Evan Turner Philadelphia G-F 6-7 205 Ohio State/USA 1
John Wall Washington G 6-4 195 Kentucky/USA 1
Kemba Walker Charlotte G 6-1 172 Connecticut/USA R
Derrick Williams Minnesota F 6-8 241 Arizona /USA R