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Pitt in the Playoffs: Cam Johnson, Justin Champagnie, Steven Adams on Contenders as First Round Begins Saturday



PITTSBURGH – Three former Pitt basketball players have reached the 2023 NBA Playoffs on their respective teams. Cam Johnson (Brooklyn Nets), Justin Champagnie (Boston Celtics), and Steven Adams (Memphis Grizzlies) all strive for the right to be crowned NBA Champions for the first time as the first round begins Saturday.

Johnson was involved in a massive deal between Brooklyn and the Phoenix Suns surrounding Kevin Durant, sending the former MVP to the desert in exchange for a package including Mikal Bridges and Johnson. The Nets (45-37) clinched the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference and are set to face No. 3 Philadelphia. In 17 games (16 starts) since being traded, Johnson has averaged 13.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and is shooting 45.5% from behind the three-point arc. Johnson graduated from Pitt in three years and transferred to North Carolina following his redshirt-sophomore season. In his final campaign at Pitt, Johnson scored 11.9 points per game, starting all 32 contests, and clipped at 41.5% from three. He was selected 11th overall in the 2019 NBA Draft out of UNC.

Newly signed to the Celtics roster last week, Champagnie exerted his will on G League opponents before being noticed by Boston. Playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the two-year Pitt forward scored 18.2 points and grabbed 8.0 rebounds in over 31 minutes through 23 games, starting 15. In two games off the bench for the No. 2 seed Celtics – set to battle the Atlanta Hawks – Champagnie played substantial minutes in the season finale, totaling five points, four rebounds, and three assists. He started 46 of 53 games in two seasons at Pitt and averaged a double-double (18.0 ppg, 11.1 rpg) en route to being named First Team All-ACC. Champagnie went undrafted but joined the Toronto Raptors organization, playing mostly in the G League.

Adams played one season at Pitt, starting all 32 games during the 2012-13 campaign. The New Zealand native averaged 7.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, and played over 23 minutes per contest in a Panther uniform. He was drafted 12th overall by the OKC Thunder in 2013 and has become a veteran leader on the Grizzles, but is expected to miss the playoffs due to a knee injury. Adams started all 42 games he played for Memphis before being injured in late January, recording more rebounds per game (11.6) than points (8.6). The No. 2 seeded Grizzlies host the Los Angeles Lakers beginning on Sunday.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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