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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga’s Andrew Nembhard to participate in NBA Rising Stars game

Andrew Nembhard (2) of the Indiana Pacers is guarded by Kevon Looney (5) of the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on Dec. 5, 2022, in San Francisco.   (Tribune News Service)

Andrew Nembhard’s successful rookie season has featured a winning 3-pointer over LeBron James and a 31-point effort against the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

It’ll continue with a pit stop at All-Star Weekend, where the Gonzaga product and Indiana Pacers guard has been selected to participate in the NBA Rising Stars game.

Nembhard was one of 20 NBA rookies or sophomore chosen to play in the event that will take place on Feb. 17 at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City. That pool of players will be joined by seven more from the NBA G League .

The group will be split up into four teams, coached by former NBA players Joakim Noah, Jason Terry, Deron Williams and Pau Gasol.

Nembhard, the 31st overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft, was one of eight rookies selected to participate in the Rising Stars game and will be joined by Indiana teammate Bennedict Mathurin, the sixth overall draft pick who starred for former Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd at Arizona last season.

As a rookie, Nembhard has started in 34 of the 45 games in which he’s played, averaging 8.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.8 turnovers per game. He’s shooting 42% from the field and 34% from the 3-point line.

The Pacers were occupying a playoff position in the Eastern Conference before losing 10 of their past 11 games. They sit in 11th place and one-half a game outside of a play-in berth.

The top two performances of Nembhard’s rookie season came during a seven-day stretch in late November and early December. The 23-year-old guard made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to lift the Pacers to a 116-115 win over the Lakers on Nov. 28. James tried to close out on the former Gonzaga standout, but Nembhard’s shot went up before the Lakers star could contest it.

Exactly a week later, Nembhard made 13 of 21 shots and 5 of 7 on 3-pointers to score a season-high 31 points while leading Indiana to a 112-104 win against Golden State.

Nembhard also had 13 assists and eight rebounds for the Pacers, who were playing without star guard Tyrese Haliburton (20.2 ppg) and five other rotation players.

Gonzaga is sending a former player to the Rising Stars event for the fourth straight year and the eight time since 2014. Past Zags to play in the game include Jalen Suggs (2022), Brandon Clarke (2021, 2020), Rui Hachimura (2021, 2020), Domantas Sabonis (2018, 2017), Kelly Olynyk (2015, 2014) and Adam Morrison (2007).

Sabonis is widely expected to make his third career All-Star appearance as a reserve for the Western Conference. All-Star reserves will be announced Thursday.