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2012 NBA Rookie-Sophomore Game: Minnesota Timberwolves Rookies Ricky Rubio And Derrick Williams Square Off In Rising Stars Challenge

NBA All-Star Weekend begins in earnest Friday night at the Amway Center in Orlando with the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, formerly known as the Rookie-Sophomore Game.

Minnesota Timberwolves rookies Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams were both selected to take part in the event. For the first time this season, the teams were chosen by team captains (TNT commentators Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal) in an alternating pick format, as opposed to being separated by class.

Rubio is playing for Team Shaq, which selected him with the fifth overall pick. Williams is on Team Chuck, after Barkley chose him with his team's fourth pick. Rubio leads all rookies in assists (8.4), while scoring 11.3 points per game and registering 2.35 steals per game. Williams is averaging just 7.4 points and 4.3 rebounds in 18 minutes per game.

The game will air on TNT at 9 p.m. The Timberwolves Kevin Love is competing in the main event on Sunday at 7 p.m. as well as the three-point contest on Saturday night, while Williams was also named one of four 2012 NBA Slam Dunk contestants.

For more on the Minnesota Timberwolves, check out Canis Hoopus. You can also check out professional basketball news from around the league over at SB Nation's NBA page.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.