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Utah Jazz: Williams will seek Skills Challenge prize at All-Star Weekend

SALT LAKE CITY — Deron Williams is going to be a busy man during All-Star Weekend in Dallas later this month.

Not only will he participate in the All-Star Game for the first time — after being voted in as a reserve by NBA head coaches last week — but Williams will also try to pick up a second Skills Challenge championship while visiting his hometown for the weekend.

The Jazz point guard will compete against defending champ Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, the Suns' Steve Nash and Milwaukee rookie Brandon Jennings in the 2010 Taco Bell Skills Challenge on Saturday, Feb. 13.

Williams won the obstacle course event in a record time of 25.5 seconds in 2008. Competitors must do a series of drills that test their skills in dribbling, passing and shooting.

Rose, who was also named an All-Star for the first time this year, won the 2009 challenge as a rookie in 35.3 seconds, but Williams did not participate in that contest. Nash, an All-Star starter, was the champion in 2005.

The Skills Challenge will be televised during the NBA All-Star Saturday Night along with the dunk contest and the 3-point shootout beginning at 6 p.m. from American Airlines Center.

The All-Star Game will take place the following night.

It was also announced today that Jazz rookie Sundiata Gaines has been named a D-League All-Star. That game will also be played on Feb. 13 in Dallas, though it's unclear whether or not Gaines will participate now that the point guard has been signed by the Jazz and is no longer on a D-League roster.

e-mail: jody@desnews.com