DeMarcus Cousins Saddles Up For 2012 Rising Stars Challenge

Feb. 21, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Sacramento Kings power forward DeMarcus Cousins (15) during the first half against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

The Sacramento Kings have just one official participant in the 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend: DeMarcus Cousins, who will star for Team Chuck in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday (6 p.m. Pacific, TNT). Cousins was the No. 4 pick in the Rising Stars draft (behind Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving and Jeremy Lin), and will be joined by Irving, John Wall, Paul George, MarShon Brooks, Derrick Williams and a few others.

Cousins was a monster in last year's Rookie Challenge, with 33 points (on 24 FGAs!) and 14 rebounds. John Wall took MVP honors on account of 22 assists. The rookies won, marking the second straight year that the rookie beat the sophomore while being led in scoring by a Sacramento King, as Tyreke Evans had 26 in a 2010 victory. We are the champions of the Rookie Game!

Hassan Whiteside got wrongly snubbed for this year's event, and as John Salmons was overlooked as an All-Star reserve, Travis Outlaw didn't get invited to the Three-Point Contest, J.J. Hickson missed a bid for the Skills Challenge, Jimmer Fredette was left out of the Dunk Contest field and Tyreke Evans won't get invited to Shooting Stars because the Maloofs killed the Monarchs, Cousins is all we have. So, uh, go Cousins! Beat Team Shaq! Beat Team Shaq!

We'll have a game thread at 6.

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