By R.L. Bynum
James Worthy is one of four coaches for the NBA Rising Stars team and, in a snake draft on Friday night, he picked Cole Anthony as one of the seven players on his team.
All four coaches are members of the NBA’s 75th-anniversary team. The others are Rick Barry, Gary Payton and Isiah Thomas.
Worthy’s UNC team lost to Thomas’ Indiana team in the 1981 NCAA final in Philadelphia before Worthy led the Tar Heels past Georgetown to win the 1982 NCAA title in New Orleans as the Most Outstanding Player. Worthy’s No. 52 is retired and in the Smith Center rafters.
Anthony will also compete in the Slam Dunk contest at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 19, against Houston’s Jalen Green, who also is in the Rising Stars game, along with Golden State’s Juan Toscano-Anderson and New York’s Obi Toppin.
The four teams in the Rising Stars game will compete in three games in Cleveland starting at 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18. After two first-round games played to a target score of 50, the winners will play for the title with a target score of 25.
The player pool was made up of 12 rookies, 12 second-year players (or sophomores) and four members of the G League’s Ignite team.
Anthony was Worthy’s fourth pick. Joining Anthony on Team Worthy will be his Orlando Magic teammate Jalen Suggs, along with the Ignite’s MarJon Beauchamp, Oklahoma City’s Josh Giddey, Houston’s Jalen Green, New Orleans’ Herbert Jones and Philadelphia’s Tyrese Maxey.
Anthony is averaging 17.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6.1 assists in 39 games this season for Orlando.
On Barry’s team are Detroit’s Cade Cunningham, the Ignite’s Dyson Daniels, Cleveland’s Evan Mobley, Cleveland’s Isaac Okoro, Houston’s Alperen Sengun, Houston’s Jae’Sean Tate and Orlando’s Franz Wagner.
Making up Payton’s team will be Charlotte’s LaMelo Ball, Toronto’s Scottie Barnes, Chicago’s Ayo Dosunmu, Indiana’s Chris Duarte, the Ignite’s Scoot Henderson, Minnesota’s Jaden McDaniels and Sacramento’s Davion Mitchell.
Playing for Thomas will be Toronto’s Precious Achiuwa, Memphis’ Desmond Bane, Detroit’s Saddiq Bey, Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards, Sacramento’s Tyrese Haliburton, the Ignite’s Jaden Hardy and Detroit’s Isaiah Stewart.