Phoenix Suns second-year shooting guard Devin Booker and rookie power forward Marquese Chriss were both named to the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge during NBA All-Star Weekend.
Created in 1994, the game pits young American-born players against non-Americans. This year's game will begin at 7 p.m. Arizona time on Friday, Feb. 17 in New Orleans. It will be televised live in TNT.
Booker, whom the Suns selected with the 13th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, joined Amar'e Stoudemire as the only Suns players to be selected twice to the game. The 20-year-old is averaging over 20 points per game this season, including 26 points in 11 games in January. He scored 39 points in both of the Suns' games in Mexico City in mid-January.
Booker scored 20 points in last year's Rising Stars Challenge to help lift Team USA past Team World.
Here's what both men had to say: pic.twitter.com/TdwhfnhBWP
— ABC15 Sports (@abc15sports) January 25, 2017
"It means a lot. It just shows I'm on the right path," Booker said moments after being informed of the news. "I think all the people that are in the All-Star Game have been through the Rising Stars game that we've been in.
"I'm still gonna be competitive with it. I'll bring my competitive mindset. I'm sure 'Quese is, too. We're gonna have fun with it, but at the same time it's still a competition against the world.
Chriss, whom the Suns selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2016 draft, has already worked his way into the Suns' starting lineup. He is averaging 7.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game and has scored in double figures in 12 games this season.
"It just shows I'm putting in the work and it's showing off," Chriss said. "I'm grateful to be in this position ... I'm just glad to have a teammate going with me and feel more comfortable."
— Shane Dale (@ShaneDaleABC15) January 25, 2017