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Jazz players Rudy Gobert, Trey Burke and Dante Exum named to Rising Stars Challenge

SALT LAKE CITY — It's unlikely the Utah Jazz will have any players in the actual NBA All-Star Game Feb. 15 in New York City.

The Jazz, however, will have multiple representatives during All-Star Weekend as young players Rudy Gobert, Trey Burke and Dante Exum have all been selected to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge.

It didn't take long after Wednesday's announcement for some fun-spirited talk to begin between Jazz players who won't all be on the same team because of a new format that will pit the U.S. against the World.

Exum, the Australian rookie, said the Rising Stars Challenge match-up will be fun, adding with a smile, "The world always thinks they’re better than the U.S."

Gobert, the second-year French center, also likes having a chance to team up with some international up-and-comers.

"It’s great for the fans in France and my fans here in the USA," he said.

Burke, a Columbus, Ohio native, said he's looking forward to try trying to score on the 7-foot-1 Gobert in the Feb. 13 showdown.

"Yeah, definitely," Burke said. "He knows I am."

The Stifle Tower smiled when asked if he thinks Burke will try to come after him.

"He’s not going to," Gobert said. "He knows."

Burke participated in the game in 2014, but Gobert wasn't invited as a rookie due to his limited playing time last season.

"It’s exciting. It’s one of my goals I wanted to achieve this season. It’s good news," Gobert said. "I think we’ve got a good team. We’ve got size. We’ve got big guys, long guys. It should be fun."

Burke will be on the U.S. squad along with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Pistons); Michael Carter-Williams (76ers); Zach LaVine (T-Wolves); Shabazz Muhammad (T-Wolves); Nerlens Noel (76ers); Victor Oladipo (Magic); Elfrid Payton (Magic); Mason Plumlee (Nets); and Cody Zeller (Hornets).

Gobert (France) and Exum (Australia) will be teamed with Steven Adams (New Zealand/Thunder); Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece/Bucks); Bojan Bogdanovic (Croatia/Nets); Gorgui Dieng (Senegal/T-Wolves); Nikola Mirotic (Montenegro/Bulls); Kelly Olynyk (Canada/Celtics); Dennis Schroder (Germany/Hawks); and Andrew Wiggins (Canada/T-Wolves).

The Rising Stars Challenge will kick off the All-Star festivities Friday, Feb. 13, and will be televised on TNT at 7 p.m. from the Barclays Center.

All-Star Saturday Night events (including skills, 3-point and dunk contests) will also be held in Brooklyn, while Sunday's featured event will be at Madison Square Garden.

Burke, a 6-foot-1 point guard in his second season with Utah, expects to gets an invitation to defend the Skills Challenge title he won with former Weber State star Damian Lillard.

"It’s always an honor to get invited to All-Star week. It’s something I'm excited about," Burke said. "It is like the All-Star Game kind of, so it will be great for my family to be there to be able to watch me, support me. I’m excited to go."

Jazz coach Quin Snyder likes that his team will have a good representation at All-Star Weekend.

"I like the opportunity for them. I think it's a good thing, especially for younger guys," Snyder said. "I want them to go in and play with some purpose and get something out of it. I think getting that kind of exposure and playing against the top young players is a good opportunity for them.

"Hopefully they’re young enough where they’ll find a way to get a lilte rest."

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