PBC Roundball welcomes several elite players for pair of games Saturday
Friday, April 26, 2019 | 4:56 PM
The public address announcer gave Moses Malone a Roundball Classic introduction of Biblical proportions.
“Thou shall not enter the lane, thou shall not block my shot, and the place roared,” said John Giammarco, once a ball boy for the original Roundball Classic and now owner of the Pittsburgh Basketball Club.
“That player intro (in 1974 at the Civic Arena) was probably longer than what he played that night,” Giammarco added with a laugh.
Fond memories from those decades-old all-star games motivated Giammarco to pay tribute to the Roundball this year as his basketball club celebrates its 25th anniversary. He and co-organizer Tony DiMario created the PBC Roundball, an event that includes two high school all-star games and a dunk contest.
The games start at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Montour.
The first game matches two rosters of Western Pennsylvania all-stars. The second at 8 p.m. pairs Pennsylvania all-stars against out-of-state stars — the format used by the original Roundball.
“It’s kind of a salute to my warmest childhood memories,” Giammarco said.
Giammarco didn’t set out to match those legendary Roundball rosters put together by Sonny Vaccaro and featuring Shaquille O’Neal, Patrick Ewing, Dominique Wilkins and many other future NBA stars, but Giammarco has drawn players from seven states for this year’s event.
“The original was a who’s who of players,” Giammarco said. “It scares me (to revive the Roundball) to be honest with you because I thought, can we do this justice? We decided, let’s do this for one year and then we’ll see what the future brings.”
Giammarco is optimistic that the college basketball fans who once flocked each summer to watch his pro-am league will come now for an early glimpse of the area’s incoming freshmen.
Pitt, West Virginia, Duquesne and Robert Morris all are represented.
Tickets are $20.
The rosters for the Pennsylvania vs. the USA main event include Pitt recruits Karim Coulibaly of Scotland Performance Institute and Justin Champagnie of Brooklyn, N.Y., West Virginia recruit Oscar Tshiebwe of Kennedy Catholic, Duquesne recruit Maceo Austin of Kennedy Catholic and Robert Morris recruit Ngonadi Olisa of Ft. Washington, Md.
“My friends from the pro-am call and say they miss getting that preview of the freshmen,” Giammarco said. “That’s all they look forward to. They want to see next year’s players.”
The Pennsylvania roster includes WPIAL stars Dan Petcash (Binghamton) of Pine-Richland and Ryan Stowers (uncommitted) of Quaker Valley, along with City League champion Jackson Blaufeld (Dartmouth) of Allderdice.
This will be the second all-star game in Western Pennsylvania using the Roundball name. The other is organized by Allen Deep at Geneva College and features exclusively Western Pennsylvania players.
The original Roundball Classic was founded by Vaccaro and Pat DiCesare in 1965. It was held annually in Pittsburgh until 1992 when it moved out of town. The game last was played in 2007 in Chicago.
“There will never be anything like the original,” Giammarco said. “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever — however many ‘evers’ you can fit into your article. But hopefully we can breathe a little life into it.”
Player, ht., hometown, college
Jaelyn Withers, 6-8, Cleveland, Louisville
Quinn Slazinski, 6-8, Houston, Louisville
Lavar Allen, 6-1, Richmond, Va., undecided
Demar McRae, 6-0, Richmond, Va., undecided
Terrion Murdix, 6-1, East St. Louis, Ill., Chicago State
Xavier Prince, 6-3, Columbus, Ohio, Point Park
Ngonadi Olisa, 6-7, Ft. Washington, Md. Robert Morris
Michael Christmas, 6-7, Virginia Beach, Va., James Madison
Taj Anderson, 6-4, Brooklyn, N.Y., undecided
Marvin Price, 6-5, Baltimore, Md., undecided
Player, ht., high school, college
Oscar Tshiebwe, 6-9, Kennedy Catholic, West Virginia
Maceo Ausin, 6-6, Kennedy Catholic, Duquesne
Luke Ruggery, 6-2, Bishop Guilfoyle, St. Francis (Pa.)
Jackson Blaufeld, 6-4, Allderdice, Dartmouth
Ryan Stowers, 6-5, Quaker Valley, undecided
Justin Champagnie, 6-8, Brooklyn, N.Y., Pitt
Nnaim Miller, 6-7, First Love, Mt. St. Mary’s
JaMier Fletcher, 6-7, First Love, Wagner
Dan Petcash, 6-4, Pine-Richland, Binghamton
Karim Coulibaly, 6-9, Scotland Performance Institute, Pitt
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .