The 6-foot-8, 220-pound wing intends to take all the necessary steps to maintain his eligibility should he choose to return to college for his junior season.
“After multiple discussions with our coaching staff and my family, I have decided that it would be in my best interest to test the NBA Draft process,” said Champagnie. “The feedback that I will gain during this process will be very helpful in making my decision on returning to St. John’s for my junior season.
“Playing at the next level has always been a dream of mine, so I am fully committed to getting better on and off the court each day,” he added.
After a Big East All-Freshman campaign in 2019-20, during which he averaged 9.9 points and a team-high 6.5 rebounds, Champagnie took a major leap forward as a sophomore.
He averaged Big East-leading 19.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, which ranked seventh in the conference. The Brooklyn native reached double figures in all 25 of his appearances with 11 showings of 20 or more points and seven double-doubles.
“I think this is without question the right move for Julian at this point in his career,” said coach Mike Anderson. “He’ll gain tremendous insight on what he needs to work on to become a threat at the next level, whether that’s next year or in the future.”
Champagnie became just the fourth player in St. John’s history to lead the Big East in scoring. The Bishop Loughlin product joined an elite fraternity in that regard, as the only other Red Storm players to do so are Chris Mullin, Walter Berry and Marcus Hatten.
Smith joins Red Storm
St. John’s added former Vermont star Stef Smith as a graduate transfer for the 2021-22 season.
Smith, a two-time all-league selection who won four America East regular season championships in as many seasons with the Catamounts, will utilize the universal extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA to compete with the Johnnies.
Vermont went 90-27 during Smith’s four-year tenure and won no fewer than 26 games in any of his first three campaigns.
“Stef is a winner who experienced tremendous success during his undergraduate years at Vermont,” said Anderson. “Without a doubt, Stef adds firepower to our lineup at both ends of the floor and brings veteran leadership to our locker room.”
This past season, Smith started all 14 of his appearances for the Catamounts, averaging 13.6 points on 40.3 percent shooting, including a 36.0 percent mark from beyond the arc.
Smith’s abbreviated senior year production was down slightly from his junior year output, when the Ontario native earned a spot on the America East All-Conference First Team after ranking second on the team with 14.2 points per game.
One of his more memorable performance’s that season came in the gym that he will soon call home, as Smith netted 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting in Vermont’s matchup with the Red Storm in Carnesecca Arena.
Smith graduated from Vermont in 24th place on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,211 points in 115 career games. Smith will join a St. John’s squad that was predicted to finish ninth in the Big East Preseason Coaches Poll and instead came in fourth.