Wednesday, May 25 2022

Orlando Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley called it a phenomenal opportunity for three of his players to participate in the NBA Rising Stars game at All-Star Weekend in Cleveland, Ohio.

Magic second-year guard Cole Anthony and rookies Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner on Tuesday were among the 28 players selected to play in the annual showcase game. In all, 12 rookies, 12 second-year players and four NBA G League Ignite players were chosen to play this year.

Mosley said the trio of players earned the opportunity to play in the game.

I think it is a phenomenal opportunity. It is great for our fans. It is great for our organization and it is great for those guys. The work that they put in. You talk about growth and development and guys getting better. The league recognized it and other coaches recognized it.

Anthony is averaging 17.9 points, 6.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds in 38 games this season. He leads the team in scoring and assists on the season and ranks 20th in assists among all players. He is fourth in points among second-year players.

The former 15th pick is happy to see their hard work paying off.

It is dope, definitely an honor to see all of our names get called for that. We all have been working hard, it has been a long season. Obviously, we would like the season to go a little bit better but that won’t take away from the work we’ve all put in. I’m just happy we’re all getting recognized for that. I know Franz and Jalen are ecstatic.

Suggs, the fifth pick, is posting 12.3 points, 4.1 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 31 games. He produced his best game on Jan. 21 with 22 points in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers and recently scored in double figures in seven straight games, his longest streak of the season.

Meanwhile, Wagner has started every game this season for the Magic, averaging 15.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists. The eighth pick leads all rookie players in total scoring and has the most 20-point games of the season with 13.

Wagner credited his teammates and coaches for the honor.

It is an honor for us three as players but also for the whole organization. … I think everybody is happy for us. I hope (our teammates) know, and the coaches know, they are the reason that we’re so comfortable and get opportunities and stuff like that so I hope they know that. I think everybody is happy for each other.

The trio of players certainly represent a big part of the future in Orlando. They have taken full advantage of their early opportunities and have flashed their potential in various moments. The hard work they are putting in is paying off and they’ll be rewarded soon in Cleveland.

The Magic dropped to 11-41 on the season after narrowly losing to the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, 126-115. The wins have been few and far between amidst a rebuilding effort, but the opportunity to participate in All-Star Weekend will certainly be a high point for the group.

“I’m going to take care of them while we’re out there,” Anthony said. “We’re going to have some fun. Really, that whole weekend is just about having fun. The whole season is about business for me but (it will be nice) to take a little break, kick back and have some fun.”

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!


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