WE ARE TWO DAYS AWAY FROM ST. JOHN’S BASKETBALL!
Today we continue our blog series with no. 2, Julian Champagnie.
Big East All-Freshmen Team Selection
After an overachieving rookie campaign which ended in a Big East All-Freshmen Team selection, the 6-foot-7 Brooklyn native is ready to get back after it this season. In Champangie’s freshman season he saw action in all 32 games and started 26 of them, tallying 9.9 PPG and 6.5 REB. Coming down the final stretch of the Johnnies’ season a year ago, Champagnie averaged near a double-double (including over 13 PPG). According to Kenpom player statistics, Julian was considered to be a “role player” in the 2019-2020 season, meaning he was used on 16-20% of possessions. I expect this number to increase to the 20-24% range, and for Julian to build on his already solid averages.
Julian’s highlight reels from last season are filled with dunks, threes, and solid play around the rim. The youngster proved to be our most reliable forward and was a clear favorite of Mike Anderson’s from the start. On a team that had many ups and downs, Julian was a consistent contributor throughout the season. As someone who was under-recruited coming out of high school, he certainly wasted no time proving himself. His 6.5 REB was enough to lead the team. Leading the team on the glass is a major accomplishment coming from a freshmen. Champagnie showed fans he’s got the energy and work ethic to be a force on the defensive side of the ball in the Big East.
What to Expect from #2
In a preseason interview, Champagnie said he feels he brings a lot to this team and that over the offseason, “I’ve just been working on my jump shot and leadership skills.”
I believe an improved jump shot is the next step in order for Champagnie to solidify himself as one of the leagues best and possibly even find himself on an all conference team at the end of the season. As a freshmen he shot 31.2% from beyond the arc. The potential is certainly there for Champagnie to increase this percentage substantially. In three of the final four games of the season last year, Champagnie had games where he hit multiple three point shots against Marquette, Creighton, and Butler. Against Butler the rook hit four threes and lead the team with 23 points. After an off-season dedicated to that jump shot, expect Julian to improve that percentage to around 35% this season and really start to space the floor making him an even tougher player to guard.
A non-skill related part of basketball that goes unnoticed by most is the leadership ability of a player. In year two, Julian is striving to be a leader for this team. From a fans perspective, hearing that arguably your best player is pushing himself to become a leader for this team is music to your ears. Although he is only a sophomore, Julian played more minutes per game then everyone else on the roster who’s not named Rasheem Dunn. With not a ton of big time experience returning, Mike Anderson and his staff will be thrilled to have a leader like Julian on the court.
There are so many great things to talk about when breaking down Julian Champagnie. This season will be filled with highlights like this one against Butler last year.