Pitt wing Justin Champagnie has signed with Life Sports Agency for representation at the professional level, and will keep his name in the 2021 NBA Draft and not return to college, he announced via social media.
“I love this school,” Champagnie said in an Instagram post. “I’ll forever bleed blue and gold. This decision didn’t come easy.”
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“My parents and my family have been my biggest supporters and they have made a lot of sacrifices to help put me in this position,” Champagnie said in a press release distributed by Pitt. “I am excited about the opportunity to pursue my NBA dreams and be in a position to pay them back for everything they have invested in me. The University of Pittsburgh has elevated me on and off the court. I love Coach Capel, the entire coaching staff and my teammates and will always be proud of the relationships I have built over the past two seasons. It was a difficult decision because Pitt has been such a special place in my development. I am going to miss the passionate support of the fans, especially the Oakland Zoo, but I know it is time to begin my professional career. I am prepared to take the next step, accept the next challenge and put in the work it takes to succeed at the next level.”
Champagnie, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder from the 2020-21 season, placed his name into the field for the 2021 NBA Draft in March. He was a first-team All-ACC and honorable mention All-American, while being the lone major-conference player to average a double-double last season.
“Justin has been a terrific member of our program for the past two years and has earned the opportunity to be a NBA Draft selection,” head coach Jeff Capel said in a statement. “He put together an outstanding season under some difficult circumstances last year, earning All-America recognition and becoming Pitt’s first First Team All-ACC selection. We are proud of the way he has developed within the Pitt program and excited to see him continue to evolve as a player. Justin’s competitiveness, toughness and desire to help his family will continue to be driving factors in helping his game reach new levels. I believe he is just scratching the surface of the player he can become and look forward to watching him carve out a lengthy pro career. Justin has our love and support and will always be a part of the Pitt family.”
Thank you Pittsburgh 💛💙 pic.twitter.com/HZLzh84sol
— Justin Champagnie (@JusChampagnie) May 10, 2021
As part of the reforms surrounding that process made by the NCAA in response to the college basketball pay-for-play scandal, players can now return to school after entering the draft process and even after signing with an agent. In order for Champagnie to retain his eligibility, he must have applied for feedback from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Council and not accept benefits from his agency other those expressly permitted by the NCAA. Champagnie should get his feedback from the UAC by May 30, which will contain guidance on whether he is expected to be a lottery pick, taken in the second half of the first round, first or second half of the second round, or to go undrafted.
Champagnie will participate in the NBA G-League Elite Camp June 19-21 and the NBA Draft Combine June 21-27, and can also participate in private workouts with NBA teams. If he wants to return to Pitt, Champagnie must make the decision by 11:59 p.m. on July 7. The 2021 NBA Draft will be held on July 29.