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Heat, Hornets to meet in NBA exhibition game at the Sprint Center

The NBA will return to the Sprint Center with an exhibition game Oct. 15 that should appeal to Kansas and Kansas State fans.

The Miami Heat, with former Kansas guard Mario Chalmers and former Kansas State forward Michael Beasley, will face the New Orleans Hornets, whose roster includes former Jayhawk Julian Wright.

Beasley was the second overall pick by the Heat in the 2008 NBA draft after leading Kansas State to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in his only season as a Wildcat. Chalmers was a second-round pick as a junior after helping Kansas win the 2008 NCAA title with his buzzer-beating three-pointer that sent the championship game against Memphis into overtime.

Chalmers, playing alongside NBA scoring leader Dwyane Wade, started all 82 regular-season and seven playoff games for the Heat last season, averaging 10 points and 4.9 assists in 32 minutes of play. Beasley started 19 of 81 games for Miami and averaged 13.9 points and 5.4 rebounds. Wade, a five-time All-Star, led the NBA with a 30.2-point average.

Wright, who was the Hornets’ first-round pick in 2007, appeared in 54 regular-season games with 19 starts last season. He averaged 4.4 points per game.

The Hornets also feature two two-time NBA All-Stars in guard Chris Paul, who averaged 22.8 points and 11 assists a game last season, and power forward David West, who averaged 21 points and 8.5 rebounds.

This will be the second NBA game at the Sprint Center since it opened in October 2007. Last year, the building celebrated its first anniversary with an exhibition game between Portland and Atlanta that attracted a crowd of 12,457.

The Sprint Center will also stage an NHL exhibition between the Los Angeles Kings and New York Islanders on Sept. 22.

To reach Randy Covitz, call 816-234-4796 or send e-mail to rcovitz@kcstar.com.

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