Jabari Smith Jr. and Walker Kessler to take part in Rising Stars game

Former teammates turned young and budding NBA stars Jabari Smith jr. and Walker Kessler have accepted their invitations to play in the NBA Rising Stars game to kick off the 2024 All-Star Weekend.

It’s the second straight year the former Tiger teammates will be participating in the event. This year’s version takes place on Friday, February 16 at 8 PM CST.

Smith comes into the All-Star break amid a breakout sophomore season for the Houston Rockets. The former second-overall pick has parlayed an outstanding Summer League and preseason into a 14-points-per-game and 9-rebounds-per-game campaign. He also averages nearly a block per contest.

As for Kessler, the 22-year-old has slightly regressed in terms of production this season for the Utah Jazz. The 7-foot center from Atlanta, Georgia is averaging 8 points and 7 rebounds this season after 9-point and 8-rebound averages in his rookie year.

Smith and Kessler make up a player poll of 28 rookies, sophomores, and G League players who will be drafted into four teams to compete in a single elimination tournament.

Other notable players in the poll rookies Victor Wembanyama, Chet Holmgren, Scoot Henderson, and Alabama alumni Brandon Miller. Former Kentucky center Oscar Tshibwe is one of seven players in the G League poll.

The Panini Rising Stars Challenge can be seen on TNT and HBO Max at 8 PM CST on February 16. NBATV will also be televising practice in the morning, starting at 10 AM CST.

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Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire