Pitt head coach Jeff Capel’s 2019 recruiting class is still a work in progress, but it currently consists of three players with ties to New York and Pennsylvania, all of whom possess intriguing talent. And on Saturday night, Pittsburgh-area fans will be able to get their first glimpse at two of those players, as Justin Champagnie and Karim Coulibaly will take part in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Roundball all-star games at Montour High School.
The all-star event is in its first year and will pit four teams featuring top players from around the country against each other in two games. Champagnie and Coulibaly will both be on the Pennsylvania all-star team alongside former Pitt targets and Kennedy Catholic stars Oscar Tshiebwe and Maceo Austin in the main event. They will face a U.S. all-star team headlined by Louisville commits Jaelyn Withers and Quinn Slazinski in the marquee matchup.
However, even the opening act will feature a few familiar faces, as Will Gipson, a Pitt football commit and dual-sport star from Aliquippa, will be playing alongside former Pitt football target M.J. Devonshire on the WPIAL North all-star team. They will meet a WPIAL South team featuring Dalen Dugger and Bobby Clifford of Allderdice. The WPIAL game will be followed by a slam dunk competition.
The all-star event was inspired by the original Roundball Classic, the first national high school all-star game that ran from 1965 to 2007 and was played at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh until 1992. Founded by Sonny Vaccaro and Pat DiCesare, the annual game featured the best high school basketball players in the United States. Some alumni of the Roundball Classic include Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, Patrick Ewing, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Moses Malone, Tracy McGrady and Shaquille O’Neal.
Much is expected of Champagnie and Coulibaly, both of whom will be expected to contribute early in their careers at Pitt.
Champagnie was a standout at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn, New York, where he averaged 16.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists over 27 games as a junior. Champagnie upped his average to 19.8 points per game in his senior season and was named a second-team All-USA New York team selection by USA Today earlier this month.
Coulibaly scored more than 1,000 points during his two-year stint with Scotland Campus Sports in Scotland, Pennsylvania, and set single-game records by scoring 41 points, converting on 17 field goals and pulling in 19 rebounds. The Mali native will address a major area of need for the Panthers, as the team’s frontcourt struggled during the 2018-19 season.
The PBC Roundball all-star games will get underway Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET at Montour High School with the WPIAL all-star teams facing off in the night’s first matchup. The Pennsylvania and U.S. all-star teams are set to face off at 8 p.m. ET. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by calling (412) 506-7978.