After a slow star to his rookie year, Cody Zeller missed out on last year's iteration of the Rising Stars challenge. That won't be the case this year, with the NBA announcing today that Zeller is part of this year's version of the game.
Rising Stars rosters. pic.twitter.com/Rl9WSYDs9U— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) January 28, 2015
Zeller will join former University of Indiana teammate, Victor Oladipo, as a member of the United States team. For those that are unaware, this year's Rising Stars challenge will be a USA vs the World format, but still featuring NBA rookies and Sophomores.
While Zeller missed out on last year, he did finish the season on the All NBA Rookie team thanks to a strong finish. He started many games for Charlotte when Josh McRoberts was injured last year, and has been a member of the Hornets starting lineup this year since early December. The NBA clearly has taken notice of Zeller and are rewarding him for being one of the better young big men in the NBA.
While Zeller is a power forward with the Hornets there's a possibility of him playing some center over All Star Weekend. The USA lineup only has one other big man in Mason Plumlee, and they're going up against a lineup featuring Steven Adams, Gorgui Dieng, Nikola Mirotic, and Rudy Gobert. So it's safe to say the USA team is going to be very much in need of Zeller's size.
Cody Zeller is averaging 7 points and 5 rebounds per game.