Well deserved and unsurprising, Wizards guard Bradley Beal received an invitation to play in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge during the NBA’s All Star Weekend in New Orleans next month. The game is an opportunity for the game’s best youngsters to showcase their talent against peers with the same level of professional experience. Beal played in the event last year as a rookie for Charles Barkley’s team, finished with 12 points and four assists.
Beal is having a pretty good week so far. Yesterday the list of 28 Team USA training camp invitees went public with Beal’s name on it. Some controversy stirred because Beal’s running mate John Wall was left off the list. Beal has been a revelation this season for the Wizards showing plenty of improvement on both sides of the ball, especially in his increased level of awareness. The Wizards are contending for the best available three seed in the Easy, and Beal’s growth has contributed to that largely.
The Rising Stars Challenge teams are drafted from a pool of 18 eligible players, nine rookies and nine sophomores, by two general managers. Last year’s GMs were TNT basketball analysts Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley. Their successors for the 2014 edition of the event have yet to be announced. Other notable names from the lineup include Victor Oladipo and Michael Carter-Williams who are neck and neck for rookie of the year honors, and Andre Drummond and Anthony Davis heading the sophomore delegation.