Orlando Magic rookie power forward Andrew Nicholson had planned to spend at least some of All-Star Weekend at the beach.
He’ll have to adjust those plans to include landlocked Houston.
Nicholson and Magic officials have learned he has been chosen to replace injured Andre Drummond in the Rising Stars Challenge on Feb. 15.
“I’m very excited,” Nicholson said moments ago, as the Magic prepared to host the Portland Trail Blazers at Amway Center. “It’s definitely a blessing and an opportunity to go out there and represent for the organization as best I can on such a big stage like that.”
Nicholson is averaging 7.6 points per game, and he leads the Magic in points per 48 minutes, with 23.8.
The Magic used the 19th overall pick in last June’s draft to select Nicholson out of St. Bonaventure.
Nicholson had hoped to be selected for the Rising Stars Challenge, which is more commonly known as the rookie-sophomore game.
“It’s been one of my goals throughout the whole year,” he said. “I’ve had a good group of guys around me to help me achieve that. I see this more as like a team achievement. My coach in college always used to teach us that. It’s not like I did this by myself. I had help on and off the court. The vets have helped me to understand the game better.”
Drummond, a Detroit Pistons rookie big man, was slated to play on the team Shaquille O’Neal drafted, Team Shaq.
Nicholson will join the Magic’s second-year center, Nik Vucevic, in the game. Vucevic was selected to play on Team Chuck, the squad Charles Barkley selected.
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said he’s happy for Nicholson and Vucevic, but Vaughn acknowledged he’s hoping both players return from Houston without injury and are well-rested when the Magic resume their season.
Vaughn was asked if he would pray that his young players would avoid injury.
“That’s a nightly prayer,” Vaughn said.
Nicholson's selection for the game was reported first by Y! Sports.
Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at email@example.com and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun