(GRIZZLIES NEWS RELEASE) – The NBA announced today that Memphis Grizzlies second-year forward/center Jaren Jackson Jr., rookie guard Ja Morant and rookie forward Brandon Clarke were selected by NBA assistant coaches to play in the 2020 NBA Rising Stars on Friday, Feb. 14 at the United Center in Chicago.
The 26th Rising Stars will pit 10 first- and second-year NBA players from the United States against 10 first- and second-year NBA players from around the world in the league’s annual showcase of premier young talent during 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend. Rising Stars will air live at 8 p.m. CT on TNT and ESPN Radio. Tickets are available at NBAEvents.com.
Jackson Jr. and Morant will represent the U.S. Team while Clarke will play for the World team. Jackson Jr. became the 16th Grizzlies player to participate in the Rising Stars last season as a rookie, and Morant and Clarke will be the 17th and 18th this season. This marks the third time in franchise history that a trio of Grizzlies will suit up for the event, joining Pau Gasol, Drew Gooden and Gordan Giricek in 2003 and Rudy Gay, Mike Conley and Juan Carlos Navarro in 2008.
Jackson Jr. (6-11, 242) has started all 47 of his appearances this season and has averaged a team-leading 17.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.4 rebounds and 1.62 blocks in 28.1 minutes in his second season since being selected with the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft. The 20-year-old scored a career-high 43 points and made a career-best nine three-pointers on Dec. 13 vs. Milwaukee, setting a franchise record with 26 points in the third quarter and becoming the youngest player in NBA history to make at least nine threes in a game. The Michigan State University product has made multiple three-pointers in 28 of his last 30 games and leads the NBA this season in games with multiple threes made and multiple blocks (18).
Morant (6-3, 175) has started all of his 42 games as a rookie and has averaged 17.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 1.10 steals in 29.9 minutes since being drafted with the second overall pick in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft. Following a historic sophomore campaign last year at Murray State University, Morant has been named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month twice for games played in October/November and December. The 20-year-old leads all rookies this season in scoring average, assists per game and free throw percentage (.782) while also ranking second among qualified rookies in steals and third in field goal percentage (.489).
Clarke (6-8, 210) has appeared in 42 games (two starts) during his rookie season and has averaged 12.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 21.7 minutes since being tabbed with the 21st overall pick in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft. The 23-year-old is on pace to set an NBA record for field goal percentage (.626) by a qualifying rookie player one year after leading the NCAA in field goal percentage (.687) as a junior at Gonzaga University. Clarke, who leads the Grizzlies and ranks second among rookies in points off the bench (508), places sixth among international-born NBA rookies and sophomores in scoring average. The Vancouver native will be one of a record four Canadians participating in the event.
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