Paolo Banchero headlines field for All-Star Rising Stars event

O’Dea High School graduate Paolo Banchero is on his way to NBA All-Star Weekend.

Paolo Banchero’s rookie season will include a trip to NBA All-Star Weekend.

The Orlando Magic forward and No. 1 pick in last year’s draft was announced Tuesday as a participant in this year’s Rising Stars Game, which will be held in Salt Lake City on February 17, two nights before the All-Star Game.

Banchero – who leads all rookies with a 20.7 point-per-game average – is still eligible for selection as an All-Star reserve. These players will be announced on Thursday.

“Anytime you get a chance to be a part of All-Star Weekend, you can’t say no,” Banchero said. “Especially me, as a first-year rookie, I’ve never experienced it before, it’s always been the dream of just being a part of it, whether it’s rising stars or as a reserve. Definitely looking forward to getting there and just seeing what it’s like.

Banchero is on course to become the first rookie to average 20 points per game since Luka Doncic in 2018-19. He is also fourth among rookies in rebounds per game on Tuesday and third in steals per game.

Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said the All-Star experience — whether just for Rising Stars or not — will have implications for Banchero.

“Just being with other young players who have found themselves in that position counts so much because they’re your peers,” Mosley said. “You’re around a group of young men who are the elite in the league for this class. I think it says something about the work you put in, the work he put in. It will do wonders as he continues to believe in himself, what we do as a team and his continued growth.”

Also selected for the game from this year’s rookie class: Detroit’s Jalen Duren and Jaden Ivey, Atlanta’s AJ Griffin, Utah’s Walker Kessler, Indiana’s Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard, Sacramento’s Keegan Murray, Houston’s Jabari Smith Jr., Jeremy Sochan from San Antonio and Oklahoma City Jalen Williams.

The sophomore players selected were Jose Alvarado and Trey Murphy III from New Orleans, Scottie Barnes from Toronto, Josh Giddey from Oklahoma City, Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun from Houston, Quentin Grimes from New York, Bones Hyland from Denver, Evan Mobley from Cleveland and Franz Wagner from Orlando.

There will also be a team of G-League players at the Rising Stars event made up of Sidy Cissoko, Mojave King, Scoot Henderson, Kenneth Lofton Jr., Mac McClung, Leonard Miller and Scotty Pippen Jr.

The 21 NBA players are drafted into three seven-player teams. Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah and Deron Williams will serve as coaches for these teams, while Jason Terry will coach the G-League team.

All four teams play a semifinal game with a target score of 40, and the two winners then play the championship game with a target score of 25. Paolo Banchero headlines field for All-Star Rising Stars event

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