MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 27: Norris Cole of the Miami Heat reacts after winning a game against the Boston Celtics at American Airlines Arena on December 27, 2011 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The NBA announced earlier today that Miami Heat rookie Norris Cole would be added to the roster for next weekends Rising Stars Challenge, the game for first and second year players that takes place during All-Star Weekend. Cole has Knicks sudden star Jeremy Lin to thank for the bid, as Lin was added to the roster so the league needed to balance the teams, hence Cole's addition.
Cole is ranked seventh in the league in rookie scoring, averaging 8.7 points per game, and he is tied for seventh in assists, dishing out 2.4 per game. He becomes the seventh Heat player to participate in the rookie-sophomore game, joining Michael Beasley, Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, Caron Butler, Kurt Thomas and Khalid Reeves.
Miami now has six players going to All-Star Weekend in Orlando. Cole will play on Friday the 24th in the Rising Stars Challenge, Mario Chalmers and James Jones will participate in All-Star Saturday's 3-point shootout, and LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade will play on Sunday in the main event, the NBA All-Star Game.
In past years, NBA rookies would be pitted against second year players in the Friday night game, but this year things will be a little different. All the first and second year participants were ‘drafted' onto teams that will be coached by TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal. The draft took place on Thursday night, and here are the teams: