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Evan Turner to Play in Rising Stars Challenge

By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Sixers second-year guard Evan Turner will be headed to the NBA All-Star Weekend later this month in Orlando to take part in the Rising Stars Challenge.

This use to be known as the Rookie Challenge where rookies would play against second-year players.  Now the teams will be mixed up with a "draft" held the week before.

Turner, who was the second overall pick in the 2010 draft out of Ohio State, is looking forward to taking part.

"Definitely a blessing to be one of the people chosen to represent the Sixers so I am definitely excited."

Listen to KYW's Matt Leon's interview with Evan Turner:


Turner is averaging 9.4 points and 5.6 rebounds a game this season, steady improvement over his rookie year numbers of 7.2 points and 3.9 boards.  He says having a year of NBA experience under his belt has been key.

"You get your feet under you, you understand situations and understand where you thrive more in certain spots and everything like that.  You learn a lot about yourself and about the NBA game."

Turner says the atmosphere at the Center this season has been something special as opposed to what it was like at the beginning of last season when the Sixers started 3-13 his rookie year.

"You can't even compare the two.  It's sold out, people are going nuts, going crazy and they're rooting for us.  They aren't coming to see the other teams, they are coming to see us play and see us beat a team."

Sixers have been doing that a lot, despite last night's loss to San Antonio.  They sit at 18-8 as they get ready to host the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.

The Rising Stars Challenge will be February 24th at 9:00pm.

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