Nicholson selected to play in Rising Stars Challenge

Courtesy of St. Bonaventure Athletics
Courtesy of St. Bonaventure Athletics

Courtesy of GoBonnies.com

Former St. Bonaventure standout Andrew Nicholson will spend his All-Star weekend among the NBA’s best in Houston.

The Orlando Magic rookie has been selected to play in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, scheduled for Friday night at the Toyota Center in Houston. Nicholson replaces injured Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond in the game, which kicks off All-Star weekend.

Nicholson was picked to play on TEAM SHAQ, headed by general manager Shaquille O’Neal. Commonly known as the rookie-sophomore game, the Rising Stars Challenge features the NBA’s top first- and second-year players. This marks the second straight year rookies and sophomores are mixed together on teams.

The game will be televised live nationally on TNT at 9 p.m. Friday and will also be broadcast live on ESPN Radio.

Nicholson, in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, said that it has been a goal of his throughout the season to be chosen for the Rising Stars Challenge.

“I’ve had a good group of guys around me to help me achieve that,” Nicholson told the newspaper. “I see this more as like a team achievement. My coach in college always used to teach us that. It’s not like I did this by myself. I had help on and off the court. The vets have helped me to understand the game better.”

Nicholson is averaging 7.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game and is shooting 53.8 percent from the field. He leads the Magic and ranks 41st in the NBA in points per 48 minutes with a 24.0 average. The native Canadian has played well of late, having scored in double figures in four of six games in February.

The 6-foot-9 Nicholson was selected 19th overall by Orlando in the 2012 NBA Draft after a carving out a record-breaking career at St. Bonaventure. Nicholson led the Bonnies to their first-ever Atlantic 10 championship in 2012 and was named A-10 Player of the Year and earned All-American honors from The Associated Press in 2011-12. He ranks second in school history in scoring (2,103 points), blocked shots (244) and field goal percentage (.575) and fourth in rebounds (887).

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