Washington Wizards Israeli rookie forward Deni Avdija has been selected to the 2020-21 NBA Rising Stars World Team roster, the National Basketball Association announced on Wednesday. He will be joined by his teammate Rui Hachimura of Japan, who is in his second year in the league, said the NBA.

Avdija is averaging 6.0 points and 4.6 rebounds in 29 games this season. He has posted four games of 10-plus points this season, including a season-high of 20 points versus Miami on Jan. 9.

The Israeli phenom has two games of 10 rebounds and ranks seventh among all rookies in rebounds per game.

“Over the first half of the season, I learned a lot of new things,” said the now 20-year-old. “I played against good players and became a better player. … It’s a very similar situation to my first year in the EuroLeague. I’m older, but it’s completely different because I’m a rookie in the NBA. I didn’t play a lot my first year in the EuroLeague, and there were many things to get used to. I think I’m acclimating pretty quickly this year and am continuing to work to get better.”

Joining Avdija and Hachimura on the World Team roster is Precious Achiuwa (Miami), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (New Orleans), R.J. Barrett (New York), Facundo Campazzo (Denver), Brandon Clarke (Memphis), Luguentz Dort (Oklahoma City), Theo Maledon (Oklahoma City) and Mychal Mulder (Golden State).

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA Rising Stars will not be played this year because of the limitation of having All-Star events all on one night.

To recognize deserving players, the NBA kept the custom of having the league’s assistant coaches vote for Rising Stars rosters, which comprise 10 first- and second-year NBA players from the United States (U.S. Team) and 10 first- and second-year NBA players from outside the U.S. (World Team).

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.


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