Junior Julian Champagnie to leave St. John's men's basketball team, chase 'lifelong dream' in NBA draft

NEW YORK -- St. John's junior Julian Champagnie is entering the NBA draft.

A two-time selection to the all-Big East first team, Champagnie announced Saturday he plans to give up the rest of his college eligibility and hire an agent.

The 6-foot-8 forward explored his pro prospects last year after winning the Big East scoring title as a sophomore. But he ultimately withdrew from the draft and returned to school.

His twin brother Justin, meanwhile, did leave college following his sophomore season at Pitt. Justin Champagnie went undrafted but signed a two-way contract with the Toronto Raptors in August and has averaged 2.2 points and 2.0 rebounds in 35 NBA games this season.

Julian Champagnie averaged 19.2 points, second in the Big East, and a team-high 6.6 rebounds for the Red Storm this season. He had 26 points against DePaul in the first round of the conference tournament at Madison Square Garden and 23 points with nine rebounds and four steals in a 66-65 loss to Villanova in the quarterfinals.

The Brooklyn native ranked second in the Big East with 2.0 steals per game and 10th with 1.1 blocks.

The Red Storm finished 17-15 this season, and in seventh place in the Big East, with an 8-11 mark in the conference.

Champagnie is 20th on the career scoring list at St. John's with 1,408 points (16 per game) in three seasons. He reached double figures in 40 consecutive games. He also averaged 6.8 rebounds, made 149 3-pointers and shot 81.5% from the free-throw line.

"Words can't describe what Julian has meant to our basketball program since he arrived on campus as a 17-year-old," coach Mike Anderson said in a school news release. "Over the past three years, it has been an honor to watch Julian grow into the fine young man and basketball player he is today. Julian put in the work and gave us everything we asked of him. We understand this is his time to take that next step and pursue his dream of playing in the NBA. We wish him the very best and he will forever be part of our St. John's basketball family."

Champagnie was one of five finalists for the 2022 Julius Erving Award, given to the nation's top small forward.

"I would like to thank Coach Anderson, our entire staff, my teammates and the university community for all of the support for the past three years," Champagnie said. "Playing in the NBA has been a lifelong dream. After discussion with my family and those close to me, I believe now is the best time to begin that journey."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.