Record four Canadians named to NBA Rising Stars game at all star weekend

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Duke Blue Devils' R.J. Barrett is interviewed in the locker room after a basketball exhibition game with University of Toronto Varsity Blues in Mississauga, Ont., on Friday, August 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

CHICAGO  A record four Canadians have been named to the World team for the Rising Stars game at the NBA’s all-star weekend in Chicago.

Oklahoma City guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Hamilton), New Orleans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Toronto), New York guard RJ Barrett ( Mississauga, Ont.), and Memphis forward Brandon Clarke (Vancouver) were all on the list of players released Friday.

The previous record was three Canadians at the 2016 all-star weekend in Toronto when Trey Lyles (Saskatoon), Dwight Powell (Toronto) and Andrew Wiggins (Vaughan, Ont.), suited up for the World team.

All-star starters Luka Doncic of Dallas and Trae Young of Atlanta are on the list for this year’s game, along with likely rookie of the year frontrunner Ja Morant of Memphis, and No. 1 overall draft pick Zion Williamson of New Orleans.

The format has 10 first- and second-year players from the U.S. on one team, against 10 first- and second-year players from other nations.

Joining Doncic and the four Canadians on the World team are Deandre Ayton of Phoenix, Rui Hachimura and Moritz Wagner of Washington, Svi Mykhailiuk of Detroit and Josh Okogie of Minnesota. Hachimura is the first Japanese player to be selected for the game, which will be played, Feb. 14.

Joining Young, Morant and Williamson on the U.S. team are Miles Bridges, PJ Washington and Devonte’ Graham of Charlotte, Wendell Carter Jr. of Chicago, Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn of Miami, Jaren Jackson Jr. of Memphis and Eric Paschall of Golden State.

Williamson is an injury replacement for Carter, who has a sprained right ankle and is not expected to play for the Bulls until after the all-star break.

Gilgeous-Alexander is having an excellent sophomore season in his first year with the Thunder. He’s averaging 19.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game.

Barrett, currently out with an ankle injury, is averaging 14.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and a steal in his rookie campaign with the Knicks.

Clarke has been an effective player off the bench for the Grizzlies. The rookie is averaging 12.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 0.9 blocks a game.

Alexander-Walker is averaging 5.6 points, two rebounds and 1.9 assists a game in his rookie campaign with the Grizzlies.