Pitt and St. John’s are set to square off in the 2021 Gotham Classic, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. The matchup will take place in December, and the event is usually held at Madison Square Garden.
The contest will essentially be a home game for the New York City-based Red Storm, as they play 13 miles to the east at Carnesseca Arena in Queens. But the game will also serve as a homecoming for many Pitt players, and it could pit Justin Champagnie against his brother Julian Champagnie in their hometown.
Of course, whether or not the Champagnie brothers will still be around to take part in the game early next season is up in the air, as they have both been highly productive with their respective teams. Justin Champagnie is currently averaging 18.7 points and 11.6 rebounds per game at Pitt, and he leads the ACC in both statistical categories. And at St. John’s, Julian Champagnie is averaging 19.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, making him the leading scorer in the Big East.
As a result of his outstanding play, Justin Champagnie has been listed in multiple mock drafts, and coaches like Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams have touted him as a potential ACC Player of the Year. Meanwhile, Julian Champagnie has seen his star rise as well, and the possibility exists that the Champagnies could move onto pro careers sooner rather than later, given the buzz around them.
The temptation to join the professional ranks will likely be high this offseason, as both of the Champagnie brothers are stars on middling teams. But with that said, they now have a date to circle on their calendars if they choose to play another year at the college level.
Whether or not the Champagnies play, the matchup will likely see Max Amadasun, Ithiel Horton and Femi Odukale suit up for Pitt, and all three have ties to the New York City area. The tilt will also feature Dylan Addae-Wusu and Posh Alexander with St. John’s, both of whom played alongside Amadasun at Our Saviour Lutheran School in the Bronx.
As for the matchup itself, it will be the first game between Pitt and St. John’s since the former conference rivals met in Big East play on Feb. 24, 2013. In that game, the 20th-ranked Panthers beat the Red Storm 63-47 en route to a 24-9 record, thanks in part to a 25-point performance by Tray Woodall. That was about par for the course for the Panthers, as they have gone 11-4 against St. John’s since the turn of the century. But in a series that dates back to 1956, St. John’s leads 34-24.