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Pitt Basketball

Ranking Justin Champagnie’s Top 5 Pitt Moments



Throughout his two years at Pitt, Champagnie delivered countless breathtaking moments on the basketball court during both his freshman and sophomore campaigns.

A couple days after Champagnie officially announced that he had signed with an agent and will be leaving Pitt and fully committing to the NBA Draft, Pittsburgh Sports Now broke down the top moments of his special Pitt career.

5. Champagnie Scores 31 Against Wake Forest in 2019-20 ACC Tournament

In the Brooklyn native’s freshman season, he only scored more than 20 points in five games throughout the regular season. While it was evident that he had tons of skill and tons of potential to be a top-of-the-line player in the ACC, Champagnie was averaging 12.2 points per game heading into the tournament, and it appeared that most of the ACC competition could defend him relatively successfully.

However, once the Panthers made it to the ACC Tournament, a new Champagnie was born. He lit up their first opponent Wake Forest for a career-high 31 points on 13-of-19 shooting and 4 of 7 from three-point range, leading the Panthers to a first round victory. In that game, he also grabbed six rebounds and blocked two shots to round out his impressive scorecard.

4. Named Pitt’s First First Team All-ACC Player

Back on March 8, after his stellar sophomore season, Champagnie was named First Team All-ACC. This honor was the first time any Pitt basketball player had been named First Team All ACC in the program’s short time in the conference.

“It is an honor to receive all-conference honors,” Champagnie said in a press release. “I appreciate Coach Capel and the rest of the staff for pushing me and helping me throughout this season. I also wouldn’t be in this position without great teammates who give me the confidence to go out and be myself on the court. We want to continue to compete together and finish our season strong.”

Champagnie also placed second overall to Georgia Tech’s Moses Wright in ACC Player of the Year voting. During his sophomore season, the 6-foot-6 forward led the conference in rebounding, grabbing 11.1 per game and second in scoring, averaging 18.4 points per game.

3. Returns Early From Injury, Drops 24 & 16 on ‘Cuse

On Dec. 20, Pitt announced that Champagnie would be out six to eight weeks with a knee injury that he suffered in practice. However, the Panthers only had to wait a little more than three weeks to see their star return to action.

In perhaps the most revealing social media post of all time by the Pitt Basketball Twitter page, Champagnie was pictured just hours before the Syracuse game in the Pitt locker room, getting ready for the game. He not only saw the floor, but did what Champagnie does, and lit up the scoresheet.

He finished that game with 24 points, 16 rebounds, and two blocks, while shooting 50% from the field and making six of his seven free-throw attempts. Champagnie was back, and Pitt was now 7-2 and rolling.

2. 31 point performance against Duke, “Pitt is Back”

After starting out the season 7-2, Pitt was looking to take down the mighty Duke Blue Devils at the Petersen Events Center on national television back in mid-January. With Champagnie back in the lineup from his recent knee-injury, he was ready to prove to the entire nation what he was all about.

The forward played the game of his life on ESPN and finished with a game-high 31 points as well as 14 rebounds, out-dueling five-star prospect Jalen Johnson from Duke, who was also returning from a recent injury. Champagnie went 12 of 15 from the field that game, including four of seven from three-point range. He also led the game in blocks and steals, racking up five and two, respectively.

After the game, Champagnie and the team were enjoying themselves, celebrating, and getting ready to head into the bulk of ACC play at 8-2. It was then when he had declared in the post game press conference that “Pitt is back”.

1.  Back-to-Back 20-point, 20-rebound Games, Including Game-Winning Dunk At Northwestern

After an efficient freshman season and a solid first three games to this season for Champagnie including a double-double against NIU, people were pointing him out to be the star of this Pitt team and a rising star to watch out for in the ACC.

However, nobody saw this coming.

Champagnie exploded against Northwestern, posting 20 points and 20 rebounds exactly, and becoming the first player with a 20-20 game since DeJuan Blair at UConn on Feb. 16, 2009. Not only were his numbers themselves impressive, but also the manner and timing in which they came. Pitt trailed the entire game up until the last ten seconds, when a spectacular play set up by Xavier Johnson resulted in a Champagnie game-winning dunk.

As if that performance wasn’t enough, Champagnie came right out in Pitt’s next game and did it again. This time at home against Gardner Webb, he one-upped himself and scored 24 points while grabbing 21 rebounds in another win for the Panthers.

As he now moves on to the next chapter of his career and life, Champagnie will certainly never be forgotten in the history of Pitt basketball for all of the memorable moments he brought to the program.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Clark Martineau
Clark Martineau
1 year ago

Duke game was his best for me. Catch and shoot, score. Can’t figure out how his shooting percentage dropped toward the end of this year. Best of luck in the draft. Hope to see you soon in the NBA.
Hail to Pitt!

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