The 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend will come closer to fruition on Thursday night when Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal pick their teams for the brand-new Rising Stars Challenge. The game, formerly known as the Rookie-Sophomore Challenge, will allow Barkley and Shaq to pick their own squads from a pool of nine rookies and nine sophomores. John Wall of the Washington Wizards is one of the nine sophomores.
Earlier, on SBNation.com, Andrew Sharp and I played GMs and picked the teams ourselves. Wall went third in that draft, picked by Sharp over Kyrie Irving and after Ricky Rubio and Blake Griffin.
The actual draft will take place at 7 p.m. on NBATV. Here are the 18 players available:
ROOKIES: Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Tristan Thompson, Brandon Knight, Kawhi Leonard, Kemba Walker, Ricky Rubio, Markieff Morris, MarShon Brooks
SOPHOMORES: Blake Griffin, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Evan Turner, Paul George, Greg Monroe, Tiago Splitter, Landry Fields, Gordon Hayward.