Ayton named to Rising Stars Game

Deandre Ayton.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Phoenix Suns rookie Deandre Ayton was named to Team World for the MTN Dew Rising Stars Game during the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) All-Star weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The game is set for February 15 and features only rookies and second-year players in a U.S. vs. World format.

So far this season, Ayton is the only rookie averaging a double-double, with 16.4 points and 10.6 rebounds for the Phoenix Suns. Among rookies, he is second in points per game and first in field goal percentage (59.4 per cent) and rebounds per game (10.5).

The 7-footer’s health will determine whether he plays in the showcase game or not. Ayton has been dealing with a severely sprained ankle, which has kept him out of the Suns’ last six games.

NBA assistant coaches selected the Rising Stars rosters, with each of the league’s 30 teams submitting one ballot per coaching staff. A ballot consisted of four frontcourt players, four guards and two additional players at either position group for each team. Voters also had to choose a minimum of three first-year NBA players and three second-year NBA players for each team. Coaches were not permitted to vote for any player on their team.

Boston’s Kyrie Irving (U.S. Team) and Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki (World Team) will serve as honorary coaches in MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars.

Along with Ayton, Team World is made up by OG Anunoby (Raptors), Bogdan Bogdanovic (Kings), Luka Doncic (Mavericks), Shai Gilgeous- Alexander (Clippers), Rodions Kurucs (Nets), Lauri Markkanen (Bulls), Josh Okogie (Timberwolves), Cedi Osman (Cavaliers) and Ben Simmons (76ers).