Julian Champagnie, last year’s Big East top scorer and first team of all conferences, announced on Sunday night that he is taking his name off the NBA draft and will return to school for his junior year.
It’s important news for St. Johns, which had a busy off-season with players being lost and added. But now it has the centerpiece back to a team that should reach the NCAA tournament next year and will likely end up in at least the top 4 of the Big East.
“He went through the process and did what for him was best, ”he said. his mother Christina told the post. “He gathered his information and made the choice.”
The 6-foot-8 Champagnie had been saying all along that he would make a decision independently of his twin brother Justin, one Star striker in Pittsburgh who decided months ago to sign with an agent and turn pro. Incidentally, St. John’s will play Pitt in the Garden next year, but only one champagne will be on the floor.
“One person’s decision had nothing to do with the other’s decision,” said Christina. “Julian never signed with anyone. He kept all options open to whatever was right for him.
Champagnie averaged 19.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.4 steals and a block last year, and led St. John’s to a fourth place in the Big East while shooting 38 percent from 3-point range. St. Johns had added a lot of size that will allow Champagnie to play more on the wing for the next year, his position on the next level.
While St. Johns lost several players from last year’s team to transfers has, notably Greg Williams Jr. (Louisiana Lafayette), Marcellus Earlington (San Diego) and Rasheem Dunn (Robert Morris), it’s arguably has improved its roster by landing multiple key transfers. These include Aaron Wheeler (Purdue), Joel Soriano (Fordham), Montez Mathis (Rutgers) and Stef Smith (Vermont).
Champagnie had three NBA workouts with the Celtics, Nets and Bulls and participated in the Draft Combine in Chicago part. He had planned training sessions with the Pacers and 76ers this week before making that decision. Had he stayed in the draft, Scouts believe he would likely have been a late second round pick. According to sources, he received a mid to late second round draft grade from the NBA advisory board.
Throughout the process, he told the coaching staff that he would only stay in the draft if they thought they might have a first round election be, said sources. The fact that Champagnie can now make money off his name, image and likeness made his decision to return easier, a source said.
Champagnie’s decision to return leaves St. Johns with a scholarship after it was on Saturday the former Hofstra wing Tareq Coburn landed. There remains a need for a ball handler able to play point guard to assist starter Posh Alexander, but it is uncertain whether St. John’s will take advantage of this final scholarship with such a crowded squad.At the moment this is not an immediate problem. St. John’s has its star back. A season with great expectations is just around the corner.
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