Duke basketball standout duo nominated to abandoned game

Duke basketball stars RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson (Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball stars RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson (Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports) /

A Duke basketball standout duo was nominated to a game that will not be taking place. 

While it is certainly not conventional, most of the events at NBA All-Star Weekend will be taking place, except one event that two former Duke basketball stars were selected to.

The NBA will hold its Skills Challenge and 3-Point Shootout prior to its All-Star Game in order to limit potential exposure to COVID-19 while the Slam Dunk Contest will be held at halftime of the exhibition.

However, the one event that did not make the cut this year was the Rising Stars Game, yet the league still decided to select players from Team USA and Team World that would have played for each squad.

To the surprise of no one, former Blue Devils Zion Williamson (USA) and RJ Barrett (World) were named to their respective roster.

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It is the second straight year that both players were named to the game as Williamson was a last-minute substitute after missing a majority of the first half of his rookie season with a knee injury

The South Carolina native was selected to his first All-Star Game this season and was drafted by Team Durant as a reserve along with the two other Blue Devils, Jayson Tatum and Kyrie Irving, who will be participating in the game.

Williamson is averaging 25.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game with the New Orleans Pelicans.

RJ Barrett, the Canada native, was also selected to the game last season and is in the midst of a sophomore surge with the New York Knicks.

The shooting guard is posting 16.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per contest.

Duke basketball could have had high-profile teammates

Alongside Zion as Team USA selections were Ja Morant, LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Tyler Herro, De’Andre Hunter, Keldon Johnson, Michael Porter Jr., and James Wiseman.

RJ Barrett was joined as Team World nominees by Precious Achiuwa, Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Deni Avdija, Rui Hachimura, Facundo Campazzo, Lu Dort, Theo Maledon, and Mychal Mulder.

The NBA All-Star festivities begin on Sunday, March 7 at 6:30pm EST (TNT).

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