St. John’s basketball: Julian Champagnie makes first career NBA start

St. John's basketball forward Julian Champagnie (Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball forward Julian Champagnie (Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports) /

Former St. John’s basketball star Julian Champagnie made his first career NBA start. 

The rise of Julian Champagnie in the NBA has been nothing short of remarkable for the former St. John’s basketball standout.

After going undrafted last summer, the Brooklyn, New York native signed a two-way contract with the Philadelphia 76ers and appeared in just two games with the Eastern Conference powerhouse before being waived on February 14.

Champagnie was waived for Mac McClung so the former Georgetown standout could be on an NBA roster in order to participate in the NBA Dunk Contest, which he eventually won.

The San Antonio Spurs quickly claimed the former Johnnie on February 16 and inked him to a two-way contract.

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Champagnie made his first appearance with the Spurs on March 4 and has been a mainstay in the big league since March 14.

However, Wednesday night was the first career NBA start for Julian Champagnie as San Antonio hosted the Utah Jazz.

Champagnie became just the third former Red Storm player to start an NBA game in the last 20 years, joining Moe Harkless and JaKarr Sampson.

The Bishop Loughlin star struggled shooting the ball against the Jazz as he finished with just two points on 1-of-6 shooting while missing all three of his attempts from 3-point range, but also netted two rebounds and an assist.

The Spurs fell to Utah, 128-117.

St. John’s basketball star proving he can play in NBA

Julian Champagnie did not score a point in his two appearances with the 76ers but has proven he can play in the NBA during his time with San Antonio.

Champagnie is averaging 6.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in just nine games with the Spurs while receiving 16.4 minutes per contest.

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Signing with the Spurs was the best thing in the long term career of the St. John’s standout as the organization has stunningly fell on hard times and is at the beginning stages of a massive rebuild, which allows the undrafted free agent to receive a handful of minutes.

Julian Champagnie can use this time with San Antonio as an audition for the other clubs in the league or try and carve out a role with the Spurs and prove he is a piece the team needs going forward.

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