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Follow the Nets' return to New York with Newsday's Rod Boone.

Plumlee pleased to play in Rookie Challenge

Mason Plumlee reacts after scoring during the second

Mason Plumlee reacts after scoring during the second quarter of a game against the Indiana Pacers at the Barclays Center. (Nov. 9, 2013) (Credit: AP)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Mason Plumlee is going to be a part of the NBA’s All-Star weekend in New Orleans next month and he couldn’t be more thrilled about it.

Plumlee has been selected to participate in the 2014 Rising Stars Challenge and made it perfectly clear it was a goal he set for himself entering his rookie campaign fresh out of Duke.

“It’s a big deal,” Plumlee said after practice Thursday. “I think if you would’ve asked people on draft night who would’ve been in this game, I don’t think they would’ve said me. So to me, it’s a big deal, it’s something I was looking for.

“I was hoping to make it starting out the season, and coach [Jason Kidd] played me and I got a chance to make it. So, I was very excited.”

Not excited enough, though, to gloat at his older brother Miles. Miles Plumulee is in his second season with Phoenix, averaging 9.7 points and 8.6 rebounds.

“I really felt like he should’ve been invited anyway,” Mason Plumlee said. “It’s not like that with me and my brother. He’s happy for me, but I’m not going to brag about it.”

Plumlee hasn’t had much to brad about lately. Since the Nets have gone ‘smaller’ -- or ‘longer’ -- and don’t have a traditional power forward playing much, Plumlee’s time has plummeted.

He’s been confined to the bench in half of the Nets’ 12 games in January, averaging 7.4 a modest minutes. And that number is a bit inflated thanks to playing 28 minutes in Toronto on Jan. 11 with Kevin Garnett sitting that game out to rest following the Nets’ double-overtime win over the Heat a night earlier.

Even so, he’ll find himself in the Big Easy next month, meaning he’s gotten the attention of more than a few people with his high-flying alley-oops and rebounding grit.

“One of the things I felt good about was the guys told me coaches could vote,” said Plumlee, who’s averaging five points and three rebounds per game. “So I guess the teams I have played against, the coaches felt strong enough to vote me in. So, I feel fortunate.”

Tags: Mason Plumlee , Kevin Garnett , Jason Kidd , Miles Plumlee , Suns , Raptors , New Orleans , All-Star Game

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