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Yi selected for NBA rookie game
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Chinese forward Yi Jianlian of the Milwaukee Bucks was named by the NBA on Wednesday as one of nine first-year players and 18 players overall who will participate in the rookie-sophomore game Feb. 15 as part of the All-Star weekend in New Orleans.

Yi has averaged 9.8 points and 5.8 rebounds in 46 games for the Bucks this season after being selected sixth in last year's NBA Draft.

"I expected it," Yi said before Wednesday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wachovia Center. "This is something that I've worked hard for with my performance in a lot of games. I'm really happy and I'm just hoping that I can take this and help the rookie team win the game."

"We're playing the first game of the weekend, so I'm hoping to go through the game and have a good game and after that relax the rest of the weekend and enjoy the festivities," he said.

Coach Larry Krystkowiak was happy for Yi. "It's great," he said. "It's part of his indoctrination into the league."

Yi, one of three Bucks to play in every game this season, ranks among the league's rookie leaders in scoring (third, 9.8), rebounds (third, 5.8), field-goal percentage (second, 43.6 percent), free-throw percentage (second, 82.7 percent), minutes (fourth, 27.3), blocks (fifth, 1.02), and steals (fifth, 0.67).

Joining him among the global contingent in the event are Houston forward Luis Scola of Argentina, Memphis guard Juan Carlos Navarro of Spain and Atlanta forward Al Horford of the Dominican Republic.

Others on the rookie squad include Seattle's Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, Memphis guard Mike Conley, New Jersey center Sean Williams and Toronto swingman Jamario Moon.

NBA second-year players have beaten the newcomers in the past five challenge matchups and six of the eight staged since the rookie-sophomore format began in 2000. The rookies won the inaugural clash and most recently in 2002. Italy's Andrea Bargnani, the Toronto Raptors forward selected first overall in the 2006 NBA Draft, will lead this year's sophomore squad.

Other NBA sophomores include Utah's Paul Millsap and Ron Brewer, Rudy Gay of Memphis, Portland's Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, Boston's Rajon Rondo, Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Farmar and Cleveland's Daniel Gibson.

Roy won last season's NBA Rookie of the Year honors.

The Rookie lineup is without 2007 top draft pick Greg Oden, who has missed the entire season for Portland with a right knee injury.

(Agencies via Shenzhen Daily February 3, 2008)

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