PITTSBURGH — Pitt commit Justin Champagnie had two words for his mom minutes after stepping off the plane at the Pittsburgh International Airport this weekend.
“I’m home,” he told her.
Champagnie, who offered Jeff Capel his letter of intent last week, was back in Pittsburgh to compete in the PBC Roundball all-star game held at Montour Saturday night. He finished with 14 points and seven rebounds against some of the region’s top talent to earn MVP honors for Team Pennsylvania in a 125-92 loss to Team USA. Alongside fellow Pitt commit Karim Coulibaly, Champagnie provided a taste of what he’ll bring to the Pitt roster next season and beyond.
“It’s a blessing and it’s and honor to come out and play with all these great players and win MVP,” Champagnie said. “It was great to get more acclimated with (Coulibaly) and just go take over next year.”
Champagnie elaborated on what drew him to Pitt over other high-major offers from Cincinnati, Rutgers, Seton Hall and Temple among others.
“I went on an official visit and it just felt like home,” he said. “The city was great. The atmosphere, the fans, the crowd – it just felt like home to me. Every other visit I went on, they didn’t really explain what they had in store for me. He explained what he wanted me to do. He told me what to work on. He had a game plan for the next six years to try and get this program back on top.”
Also making waves was Robert Morris commit Ngonadi Olisa, who led all scorers with 20 points and nine boards to take home MVP honors for Team USA. Olisa, a 6’9 forward from the National Christian Academy, made his presence felt on both ends of the court with a high volume of dunks, blocks and rebounds. And the best part of all was his competitive streak. It may have been an all-star game, but he and Champagnie went toe-for-toe through the entire night. On one posession in the first half, Champagnie put home a thunderous one-handed slam right overtop of Olisa’s outstretched arm.
“It’s competitive basketball, I love it,” said Champagnie. “I come from Brooklyn. It’s what we do.”
But later, in the second half, Olisa avenged it with a monster rejection on a nearly-identical dunk attempt.
“No one has ever dunked on me twice in a game,” Olisa said, laughing. “No one.”
In addition, Coulibaly ended 15 points and four rebounds while Duquesne commit Maceo Austin added 10 points and four boards.