NBA All-Star Weekend features Herd players


Jacob Link / the Advance-Titan — The Herd’s Sandro Mamukelashvili drives on College Park’s Chris Silva at the Oshkosh Arena Jan. 6.

Jacob Link, Co-Sports Editor

While the Wisconsin Herd were on a 10-day break for the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend, the Herd’s Sandro Mamukelashvili and Alex Antetokounmpo showcased their skills in the G League Next Up Game and NBA Kia Skills Challenge, respectively.

Another Oshkosh connection to the NBA’s All-Star weekend was Oshkosh North High School Alumnus Tyreese Haliburton, who played in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game and participated in the Starry 3-Point Contest.

Mamukelashvili was a late addition to the G League Next Up Game, filling in for Austin Spurs center Charles Bassey who signed a 4-year deal with the San Antonio Spurs just days before the event.

Mamukelashvili, who was averaging 23.3 points and 13 rebounds a game before the All-Star break, started for Team Garza in the Next Up Game where he scored eight points and grabbed 12 boards, helping the team defeat Team Scoot 178-162.

The two team captains, Iowa’s Luka Garza and the Ignite’s Scoot Henderson, drafted 12 players each from the 24-man roster featuring G League players selected from a fan vote.

Antetokounmpo participated in the Kia Skills Challenge alongside his older brothers Giannis, who was later replaced by Jrue Holiday due to his wrist injury, and Thanasis. The skills challenge is a three-round competition where teams of three players try to score the most “challenge points” by winning each round.

In the first round of the competition, the Antetokounmpo brothers finished in second place in the team relay, which required players to make a 35-foot outlet pass, dribble through three moving pylons and attempt three different shots.

Team Antetokounmpo took second place once again in the second round, being defeated by Team Jazz 88-84 in the team passing competition. The team passing competition featured the three teams trying to make various passes, a 35-foot outlet pass, a 20-foot bounce pass and a 25-foot chest pass, through moving targets in 30 seconds.

In the final round, Team Antetokounmpo was bested by Team Jazz in the shooting competition which had players take turns shooting from five different spots that had values of anywhere from one point to five points.

Even though the Antetokounmpo brothers finished second in every competition, they found themselves in last place at the end of the Skills Challenge, behind Team Jazz and Team Rooks.

Haliburton, named to his first-all star game this season, scored 18 points in 14 minutes for Team Lebron in the 2023 All-Star Game in Salt Lake City. Haliburton, the ninth Wisconsinite to ever play in an All-Star Game, is averaging 19.9 points and 10.1 assists per game in 48 games with the Indiana Pacers this season.

Similar to the G League Next Up Game, the two team captains, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo drafted 12 players each out of a 24-man roster. Team Giannis went on to defeat Team LeBron 184-175 Feb. 19 at the Vivint Arena.

In the 3-point competition, Haliburton blew out his opponents in the first round, scoring 31 points and tying a contest-record for most points scored in a round. He easily advanced to the final round, but cooled off fast and finished with 17 points, good for third place behind Damian Lillard and fellow Pacer Buddy Hield.

Haliburton, who vowed he would return for next year’s 3-point competition, was thrilled to be a part of the NBA All-Star Weekend.

“Just being around the guys, getting to know everybody more, getting to have conversations about the NBA life, it’s been awesome,” Haliburton told “It’s unfortunate that I choked in the first round, but things happen and I’ll be back next year.”

Just before the All-Star break, the Herd lost one of their top scorers in Joe Wieskamp, who signed a multi-year deal with the Toronto Raptors. Wieskamp, who averaged 17 points per game and shot over 50% from the floor in 11 games with the Herd, had two stints with the Raptors this season under 10-day contracts. Financial details of the deal were not made public due to team policy.

With Wieskamp on the move, the Herd signed guard Jaire Grayer from the NBA G League player pool. Grayer, who played college basketball at TCU, most recently played with the Lakeland Magic during the 2020-21 G League season where he averaged 7.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in 24 games.

The Wisconsin Herd (6-14) will take on the Texas Legends (6-12) Feb. 24 at the Comerica Center in Frisco, Texas, at 7:30 p.m.