St. John’s basketball sees extra fireworks with return of Julian Champagnie

St. John's basketball forward Julian Champagnie (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
St. John's basketball forward Julian Champagnie (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

The St. John’s basketball program received some groundbreaking news on Sunday night. 

The extra fireworks that were heard in Queens on Sunday night were set off by Mike Anderson and his coaching staff after the St. John’s basketball program got the best news of the offseason.

Rising junior forward Julian Champagnie announced he would be removing his name from the 2021 NBA Draft and returning to Queens for the 2021-22 season.

The move from the All-Big East First Team selection should cement the Johnnies as a Top-4 team in the Big East next season and give the program real hopes and aspirations for March 2022.

Champagnie took place in several workouts for NBA teams as well as his participation in the NBA Draft Combine but ultimately decided he would benefit more from another season with the Red Storm.

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The 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward averaged 19.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 43.4-percent shooting from the floor and 38.0-percent from 3-point range as a sophomore and was named as the conference’s Co-Most Improved Player.

Julian Champagnie will be looking to make his first NCAA Tournament appearance this upcoming season after his freshman year was cut short due to COVID-19 and in his sophomore year the Johnnies floundered in the Big East Tournament, missing the NCAAs and declining an NIT bid over health and safety protocols.

St. John’s basketball ready to roll into 2021-22 season

After seeing a majority of its roster depart via the transfer portal, head coach Mike Anderson was able to return Julian Champagnie, reigning Big East Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Posh Alexander, and vital role player Dylan Addae-Wusu.

The Johnnies saw Greg Williams Jr. (Louisiana-Lafayette), Rasheem Dunn (Robert Morris), Marcellus Earlignton (San Diego), Vince Cole (Coastal Carolina), Josh Roberts (Manhattan), John McGriff (Binghamton), and Isaih Moore (Southern Mississippi) all enter the transfer portal this offseason.

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However, St. John’s enters Montez Mathis (Rutgers), Joel Soriano (Fordham), Aaron Wheeler (Purdue), Stef Smith (Vermont), and Tareq Coburn (Hofstra) from the transfer portal.

There are now real expectations for St. John’s entering next season with still a lot to be determined prior to tipoff in November.

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