Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is among 18 players eligible for the inaugural Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend in Orlando, Fla.
The game will feature nine rookies and nine second-year players. Former All-Stars and current TNT studio analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal will serve as general managers and draft from the 18-player pool to form two nine-man teams.
The draft will be held Feb. 16 on NBA TV, and the game will be played Feb. 24.
The previous format during All-Star Weekend was the Rookies vs. Sophomores game, which began in 2000. Players for that game were voted on by assistant coaches from each team.
Cousins played in the Rookie-Sophomore game last year and finished second to Washington's John Wall for MVP honors.
"I'm happy for him and happy for our organization that we have somebody represent us again," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "And what better way than one of your building blocks."
Cousins is averaging 15.3 points and 11.5 rebounds this season. He is fifth in the NBA in rebounding and third with 17 double doubles.
"Other people are noticing what this young man is doing, and it's not just the people that see him every day," Smart said.
The Kings have had at least two players selected to the game the past two seasons.
Cousins was joined by Tyreke Evans last season, but Evans did not play for the sophomores because of an injury.
In 2010, Evans was joined by Omri Casspi on the rookie squad, and Evans was the game's MVP.
Current Kings rookies Jimmer Fredette and Isaiah Thomas were the other candidates for the Rising Stars Challenge. But in a 2011 draft class that was deep with guards, plus the addition of 2009 Minnesota draft pick Ricky Rubio, neither could crack the nine-man rookie pool.
Los Angeles Clippers All-Star Blake Griffin was selected. He also was voted as a starter in the All-Star Game after being selected as a reserve by coaches last season.
Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, the first pick in last June's draft, headlines the rookies along with Rubio.
Wall, in his second season, also is in the player pool.
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