Beasley makes rookie challenge
MIAMI -- Michael Beasley has big plans for All-Star weekend, including getting to his old home court in time to watch Kansas State play rival Kansas.
First, though, will be a trip to Phoenix -- for the NBA's rookie challenge.
Beasley was the lone Miami Heat player selected for the game between the league's top rookies and sophomores, something he said was disappointing. He hoped that fellow rookie Mario Chalmers and second-year player Daequan Cook would be joining him in Phoenix for the Feb. 13 contest, but neither got enough votes from the league's assistant coaches.
"Honestly, I thought they were both a lock, a shoo-in," Beasley said. "The year Mario is having, I thought there was no question. He played great against Derrick Rose. He played great against Russell Westbrook. And Daequan deserved to go. At least, that's what I think."
Instead, it'll be Beasley and only Beasley on the court from Miami in that game, making him the sixth Heat rookie to be selected. He joins Khalid Reeves, Kurt Thomas, Caron Butler, Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade -- who will help coach the rookie squad, alongside sophomore coach Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic.
"I thought they would have a chance," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Chalmers and Cook. "It's tough. I know it would have meant a lot for the two of them. It's a tough process. I hate even getting involved in it. I get so many things in the mail, people politicking for their players, agents, people from other teams. I don't really like the whole process."
Cook entered Wednesday's game against the Washington Wizards as Miami's fifth-leading scorer at 10.4 points per game, plus has hit 42 percent of his shots from 3-point range. He entered the night with 99 makes from 3-point range this season, fifth-best in the league.
Chalmers, the Heat starter at point guard, is averaging 9.5 points, 4.6 assists and 1.8 steals for Miami. Chalmers ranks seventh in the NBA in steals per game.
"I think both of them have good enough numbers to be there," said Beasley, who plans to leave Phoenix quickly and get to Manhattan, Kan. -- where he spent last year with Kansas State -- in time for the Feb. 14 game between the Wildcats and the defending national champion Jayhawks.
Besides Beasley, the rookie team was composed of Rose (the No. 1 overall draft selection from Chicago), Westbrook (the No. 4 pick from Oklahoma City), O.J. Mayo of Memphis and the Los Angeles Clippers' Eric Gordon at guard; Beasley and Portland's Rudy Fernandez at forward; and centers Marc Gasol of Memphis, Brook Lopez of New Jersey and Portland's Greg Oden.
"I'm disappointed," Chalmers said. "I thought I was going to make it. Everybody said my chances were going to be pretty good, but it didn't turn out that way."
The sophomore team has Houston's Aaron Brooks and Detroit's Rodney Stuckey at guard; the Los Angeles Clippers' Al Thornton, Philadelphia's Thaddeus Young, New York's Wilson Chandler, Houston's Luis Scola and Oklahoma City teammates Kevin Durant and Jeff Green at forward; and Atlanta's Al Horford at center.
"I'm fine. It's over," Cook said.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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