A pair of St. John’s basketball player are off to slow starts in NBA Summer League.
Both players participated in a prelude to the iconic Las Vegas Summer League in the California Classic and Utah Summer League, respectively.
Wheeler got his first taste of the professional ranks with the Miami Heat in San Francisco as the Heat played three games before boarding the flight to Vegas.
The Purdue transfer only logged 3:20 in his first Summer League hame and did not score a point as he missed his only shot from the field in a 100-66 victory by the Los Angeles Lakers, but the 6-foot-9 forward did record a steal.
Aaron Wheeler saw an increase of playing time in his second game with Miami as he was on the floor for 9:20 and added three points on 1-of-2 shooting from the floor and made his lone free throw attempt in an 81-64 win for the Sacramento Kings.
The undrafted Johnnie also added four rebounds and a steal before he did not play in the final game of the California Classic due to a coach’s decision.
Javonte Smart was the only other player on the Heat roster that did not play in the team’s final game in California.
Aaron Wheeler will get more chances to try and impress the coaching staff on Saturday, July 9 in the Las Vegas Summer League against the Boston Celtics (5:30pm, NBATV).
St. John’s basketball star also off to shaky beginning
Julian Champagnie, a player many St. John’s fans were hoping would get drafted, is also off to a slow start with the Philadelphia 76ers after signing a two-way contract with the team after not being selected in June’s draft.
Champagnie came off the bench in his debut game, playing ten minutes, in the Utah Summer League and failed to score on five shot attempts, two from 3-point range, against the Memphis Grizzlies.
The former All-Big East First Team selection started in the second game of the event for the 76ers, playing just over 26 minutes, but still could not get his shots to fall after connecting on just 2-of-11 tries and missing all six shots from beyond the arc.
Champagnie also uncharacteristically missed 3-of-4 free throw attempts in the game as he finished with five points, 10 rebounds, one assist, and a block as Philadelphia picked up a victory over the Utah Jazz.
The 76ers pushed the St. John’s star back to the bench in its final game in Salt Lake City as the Brooklyn, New York native was 2-of-5 from the floor but still could not connect on his only two 3-point attempts of the game.
Julian Champagnie logged 16:32 in the outing and finished with four points, three rebounds, two assists, and a steal in the victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
A unique opportunity awaits Champagnie in his first game in Las Vegas as the 76ers will play the Toronto Raptors and Justin Champagnie in the first ever meeting between the twins.
The matchup is slated for Saturday, July 9 at 3:30pm EST and can be seen on NBATV.
Former St. John’s forward Malik Ellison, who transferred to Pittsburgh after two seasons in Queens, is also on the 76ers Summer League roster and did not play in the first game in Utah but played strong in the closing two games.
Ellison logged 20 minutes against Utah and made both shots from the field with four points, three rebounds, and a block while playing 10 minutes against Oklahoma City and made all three shots from the floor.
The wing boarded the flight to Nevada with six points, two rebounds, one assist, steal, and block in the finale.