Brooklyn Nets: Jarrett Allen, Rodions Kurucs chosen for Rising Stars Challenge

Brooklyn Nets Rodions Kurucs Jarrett Allen (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
Brooklyn Nets Rodions Kurucs Jarrett Allen (Jim Davis/Globe Staff) /

The young talent of the Brooklyn Nets was validated Tuesday as Jarrett Allen and Rodions Kurucs were selected for the Rising Stars Challenge.

As the Brooklyn Nets have embarked on their rebuilding project, general manager Sean Marks has found some gems outside of the NBA Draft Lottery. Two of those picks from the last two drafts were named Tuesday to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.

Second-year center Jarrett Allen, the 22nd overall pick by the Nets out of the University of Texas in 2017, has been named to the U.S. team for the 25th event to be played Feb. 15. The selections were announced on TNT Tuesday night, per

One of Allen’s opponents in the game will be Brooklyn teammate Rodions Kurucs, the Latvian rookie chosen 40th overall in last June’s draft who was named to the World team Tuesday. Kurucs is the lowest-selected player named this year.

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Allen and Kurucs are the first Nets chosen for the Rising Stars challenge since Bojan Bogdanovic was selected during his second season in 2016.

Entering Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Bulls, Allen had started 49 games for the Nets this season, averaging 11.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 26.7 minutes per game while shooting 57.2 percent overall, 4-for-31 from 3-point range and 74.1 percent from the foul line.

Allen’s national profile has grown this season for his rejections of dunk attempts by a galaxy of NBA stars including Blake Griffin, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis.

Kurucs was expected to spend much of his time this season with the Long Island Nets in the NBA G League after playing just 44 minutes with the top-level club for FC Barcelona last season, but turned heads with a solid preseason and earned a rotation spot to open the year.

An ankle injury in the Nets’ third game of the regular season set Kurucs back a bit and he spent some time out of the rotation in November and early December before re-emerging as Brooklyn began a seven-game winning streak.

Kurucs moved into the starting lineup on Dec. 14 after Allen Crabbe went down with a knee injury and Tuesday marked the 23rd consecutive start for the rookie. Brooklyn came into Tuesday’s game with a 16-6 record in games started by Kurucs.

In 34 games entering Tuesday, he was averaging 9.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in 20.7 minutes per game, shooting 49.4 percent overall, 32.2 percent from deep and 90.4 percent at the foul line.

The rest of the U.S. squad includes second-year players De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers, John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics.

Rookies for the U.S. include Marvin Bagley of the Kings, Trae Young of Atlanta and Jaren Jackson Jr. of the Memphis Grizzlies.

The World squad is headlined by reigning Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers (Australia) and this year’s overwhelming ROY favorite, Slovenian Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks.

Other second-year players include OG Anunoby of the Toronto Raptors (United Kingdom), Bogdan Bogdanovic of Sacramento (Serbia), Lauri Markkanen of the Chicago Bulls (Finland) and Cedi Osman of the Cleveland Cavaliers (Turkey).

Rookies joining Kurucs and Doncic on the World squad are Deandre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns (Bahamas), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the LA Clippers (Canada) and Josh Okogie of the Minnesota Timberwolves (Nigeria).

Bogdanovic was the last Brooklyn Net selected in 2016 and was also the last rookie from the Nets to be chosen when he was picked in 2015.

It’s the first time since 2015 the Nets have had two players named to the Rising Stars Challenge. That year saw Bogdanovic and Mason Plumlee selected. The Nets also had two selections in 2001 when Kenyon Martin and Stephen Jackson were chosen.

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Other Nets to play in the Rising Stars include: