Jazz forward Bryon Russell, a second-round draft pick, was named to the NBA's Rookie All-Star team, announced Thursday. Russell will join such big-name players as Philadelphia's Shawn Bradley and Golden State's Chris Webber in the showcase game, played All-Star weekend in Minneapolis.
Russell was among 16 rookies selected. They will be divided into two teams of eight in a mock draft. Teams will be coached by former NBA coaches Doug Collins and K.C. Jones.Joining Russell are Bradley, Webber, P.J. Brown (New Jersey), Sam Cassell (Houston), Calbert Cheaney (Washington), Antonio Davis (Indiana), Anfernee Hardaway (Orlando), Lindsey Hunter (Detroit), Popeye Jones (Dallas), Toni Kukoc (Chicago), Jamal Mashburn (Dallas), Chris Mills (Cleveland), Dino Radja (Boston), Isaiah Rider (Minnesota) and Nick Van Excel (Lakers).
Sacramento's Bobby Hurley was also selected but won't play due to injuries sustained in an auto accident.
"Last fall my plan was just making the Utah Jazz team, not the (All-Star) rookie team," said Russell. "Hopefully I can get the MVP of the game, if I perform well playing with all those big names."
Russell is averaging 5.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 19.2 minutes per game. He has started 29 games.
Russell said he doesn't mind being in Minneapolis All-Star Weekend (Feb. 11-13), rather than home relaxing. "It will keep me playing a few extra days. Then I can come back to Utah and hopefully the fans will love me even more."
With only a week left until All-Star voting closes, the Jazz's Karl Malone isn't even among the top 10 in balloting among Western Conference forwards.
Malone, a six-time All-Star, trails Charles Barkley, A.C. Green, Shawn Kemp, Antoine Carr, Harvey Grant, LaPhonso Ellis, Chris Mullin, Detlef Schrempf, Billy Owens and Robert Horry. Only the names of the top 10 vote-getters are released.
However, Jazz publicists say they aren't worried. They normally send their ballots in all at once at the end of the balloting period. Each team receives about 120,000 ballots. Barkley leads the forwards with 226,165, while Green is second with 127,971. Horry, the No. 10 vote-getter so far, has 64,373 votes.
John Stockton is eighth among guards (64,129) and Felton Spencer is ninth among centers (11,569).
The starting five are picked by fans, while the remainder are picked by the respective coaches.