It might just be a warm-up for the main event, but young players covet spots in All-Star Weekend's Rising Stars Challenge.
The game, which features rookies and sophomores, takes place before the All-Star Game, Feb. 16.
Rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was hopeful, but when the 18 players were announced Wednesday evening, the Georgia product wasn't among them.
Caldwell-Pope, 20, admitted he was disappointed.
"I felt bad about not making it," Caldwell-Pope said Thursday. "I thought I produced well. ... By not making it, I felt bad about it, but then again I'm going to keep pushing."
Caldwell-Pope has started 38 straight games and is averaging 7.3 points. He is probably the Pistons' best on-the-ball defender, and he has harassed players like Pacers standout Paul George and Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal.
Kyle Singler, a second-year player, also was eligible for the game. The game's format has the pool of players going through a draft. The rosters are mixed with rookies and sophomores.
Second-year center Andre Drummond, who was picked, said he was surprised neither Caldwell-Pope nor Singler made it. "I was a little shocked," he said. "I thought he and Kyle deserved it."
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