Rookie Wing Reveals True Feelings on Sixers Draft Day Decision

Julian Champagnie

Getty Julian Champagnie averaged 19.2 points per game for St. John's last season.

Lost in the shuffle of a busy offseason for the Philadelphia 76ers was the decision to sign Julian Champagnie. The undrafted rookie out of St. John’s University inked a two-way contract and suited up for summer league games in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.

Champagnie, a 6-foot-8 wing player, saw action in seven contests including a 97-77 loss to Toronto, a game best remembered for the way Julian jawed with his twin brother Justin. That was the first time they had ever faced each other in a professional basketball game.

Playing in the summer league was a tad bittersweet for Julian, though. He had expected to hear his name called out at the NBA draft after earning first-team All-Big East honors for consecutive seasons at St. John’s. His 19.2 points per game ranked second in the Big East and 35th in the country for the 2021-22 season.

The Sixers had been showing interest leading up to the draft, then they traded the 23rd overall pick in the deal for De’Anthony Melton. Later, Champagnie would get a call from Philadelphia to join them on a two-way contract. Which he did.

The 21-year-old wing discussed how that all went down in a recent interview with the Eye on the Storm podcast. In it, he called the Sixers a “perfect landing spot” for his talents.

“They had expressed an interest prior. We had talked about Philly as a good landing spot,” Champagnie said. “They had the 23rd pick. Obviously, they made the trade for Melton, so that was that. That was fine. If I had to choose I would’ve chosen Philly.

“Out of all the spots, if I would have had my choice, Philly was the spot I wanted to go to. Hands down … it’s about the opportunity, and I’m super appreciative of them giving me an opportunity.”

Champagnie had a few other teams express interest after the draft, but the choice was clear. His agent told him it was Philly or bust.

“My agent told me Philly called and we’re going to Philly,” Champagnie said, “and I’m like ‘let’s do it.’ We had already spoken prior so that’s what made it so perfect.”

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High School Teammates Turned Professionals

Justin Champagnie plays for the Toronto Raptors and he saw burn in 36 games last season. He went undrafted out of Pittsburgh in 2021.

Justin didn’t see the floor in the Sixers-Raptors playoff series but he did combine for 27 points in two preseason contests last year in the preseason. This year, he was able to battle his twin brother Julian in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Julian discussed watching a lot of Sixers game last season by virtue of his brother playing for Toronto.

“I like Philly. I like the roster. I like the coaching staff. I like how they play,” Julian said. “I had watched them play plenty of times with Justin.”

Scouting Report on Julian Champagnie

Julian averaged 19.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals as a junior at St. John’s. But the numbers weren’t indicative of his shooting prowess. He’s a lethal step-back shooter. Here is what The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie wrote (via NBC Sports Philadelphia):

A ridiculous 73 percent of his catch-and-shoot opportunities were guarded last season, which meant that he hit only 32 percent in those scenarios,” Vecenie wrote in his 2022 draft guide. “But he’s a better shooter than that. Makes them off relocations and with a hand in his face. Can hit stepbacks going to both his right and to his left.”

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