St. John’s basketball: Julian Champagnie’s return benefits both parties

St. John's basketball forward Julian Champagnie (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball forward Julian Champagnie (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports) /

The return of Julian Champagnie to the St. John’s basketball program benefits both parties. 

Queens is still buzzing with the news that forward Julian Champagnie will be returning to the St. John’s basketball program for his junior season, and rightly so.

Champagnie solidifies the Johnnies, on paper, as a Top-4 team in the Big East Conference next season and the Red Storm will be entering November with NCAA Tournament aspirations as anything less would be a major disappointment.

While the return of the 6-foot-8 forward is massive for St. John’s, the decision benefits both the program and Champagnie entering the 2021-22 season.

It is pretty simple how the decision benefits St. John’s; with Julian Champagnie the Johnnies are Big East Tournament Championship contenders, without Champagnie the Red Storm would be battling to finish anywhere between fifth through tenth in the conference.

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In addition to being a better team on the floor, Champagnie has a chance to elevate the chatter around the St. John’s program off the floor and on the recruiting trail with an exceptional junior season in which he elevates his stock.

The Brooklyn, New York native made it clear that he wants to be a first round draft pick while testing the draft waters this summer and he is retuning to Queens to achieve that goal.

Should Julian Champagnie eventually be a Top-30 draft pick, he would become the first St. John’s player to be selected in the First Round of the NBA Draft since Moe Harkless in 2012.

St. John’s is certainly not known for putting players in the NBA as the team has not had a draft pick since 2015 and only two First Round draft picks since 2000 (Erick Barkley, Moe Harkless).

Behind a banner junior campaign from Julian Champagnie, the Red Storm could be seen once again as destination program.

How decision to return to St. John’s basketball benefits Julian Champagnie

The decision to return to St. John’s benefits Julian Champagnie for many of the reasons listed above, but more so of the fact that he knows exactly what NBA teams are looking for and what they specifically want to see from him as a junior.

If players have the right people around them, which Champagnie does, there is no downside to testing the NBA Draft waters to get a first-hand perspective of what it is like at the next level and receive feedback directly from teams and scouts on where to improve.

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Not only does Julian Champagnie have the chance to improve from a personal level, but he also has the chance to etch his name into St. John’s history and become a “star” or “legend” around Queens if the Johnnies have one of their best seasons in recent memory.

The Red Storm have not reached the semifinals of the Big East Tournament since 1997 and the program has not won an NCAA Tournament game since 2000, by far the longest streak of any of the Top-10 teams with the most victories in NCAA Division I men’s basketball.

It is now a waiting game until November 9 and beyond as Julian Champagnie and the Johnnies have a chance to rewrite the history books in Queens.

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