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Julian Champagnie withdraws from NBA draft, will return to St. John's for junior season

St. John's Red Storm guard Julian Champagnie reacts

St. John's Red Storm guard Julian Champagnie reacts after sinking a three-point basket against the Utah Valley Wolverines during the second half an NCAA non-conference men's basketball game at Carnesecca Arena on Jan. 23. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

St. John’s star Julian Champagnie has decided to forego the NBA Draft and return to the Red Storm for his junior season.

The school formally announced on Wednesday that the 6-8 forward has withdrawn his name from the draft to return to school. He was an all-Big East first team selection last season after leading the conference in scoring with a 19.8-point average to go with 7.4 rebounds and an 88.7% mark on the free-throw line.

"There’s more work to be done," Champagnie said. "We have some business to handle."

The Brooklyn product helped St. John’s (16-11) finish fourth in the Big East, its best finish since 2000 when it won the conference title.

"We’re obviously thrilled to welcome Julian back to St. John’s for his junior season," St. John’s coach Mike Anderson said in the announcement. "Julian used this pre-draft process the way it was intended, getting important feedback that will make him a better player and prospect in the long run. We look forward to helping Julian develop in any way we can."

Champagnie and his brother, the Pittsburgh star Justin, both put their names in for the NBA Draft after last season. Justin hired an agent and will go pro. Julian did not, affording him the opportunity to return to school. He worked out for a handful of NBA teams. Champagnie was as likely to go undrafted as he was to be selected in the second round, two NBA scouts told Newsday.

The NCAA’s recent move to reduce restrictions on college basketball transfers – they no longer must sit out one season – has created an offseason with an unprecedented number of moves in programs large and small. St. John’s has had a great deal of roster turnover as well, but Champagnie’s return makes the Red Storm look formidable for 2021-22.

They already were returning point guard Posh Alexander and combo guard Dylan Addae-Wusu and bringing in through recruiting 6-6 Rafael Pinzon and 6-8 Drissa Traore from Long Island Lutheran and 6-4 O’mar Stanley.

In terms of transfers, the Storm lost Rasheem Dunn (Robert Morris), Greg Williams Jr. (Louisiana Lafayette) and Josh Roberts (San Diego). However, they’re potentially strong with the additions of guards Stef Smith of Vermont and Montez Mathis of Rutgers as well as 6-5 Tareq Coburn from Hofstra, 6-9 Aaron Wheeler from Purdue and 6-11 Joel Soriano from Fordham.

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