Champagnie says his preference was always Toronto

TORONTO – Justin Champagnie has an unwavering perception in himself, and as soon as he units a goal, he says, he often hits it.

“I at all times had a dream in thoughts of creating it to the NBA and taking part in right here,” the 20-year-old Raptors rookie mentioned after Wednesday’s follow. “One factor everybody is aware of about me, once I put my thoughts to one thing, I’m going to go do it, it doesn’t matter what anyone says.

“I simply form of put it in my head ever since I used to be a child, I’m going to do two years of college, and (then) make my goals come true, in order that’s what I did.”

The Brooklyn, N.Y., native was a revelation within the Raptors’ pre-season opener in opposition to Philadelphia on Monday, scoring 17 factors and grabbing 10 rebounds as a part of a younger, high-octane bench.

The six-foot-six, 200-pound ahead went undrafted after two seasons on the College of Pittsburgh, however was signed by the Raptors to a two-way deal the following day.

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Not shocking, of the 16 or 17 groups Champagnie visited for pre-draft exercises, he had his sights set on Toronto.

“I didn’t need to play wherever else,” he mentioned. “I advised my agent straight away I needed to play in Toronto, like proper after the exercise.”

Champagnie did his pre-draft exercise in Tampa, Fla., and mentioned there was “only a vibe” with the group, together with the teaching workers. He practised for Raptors 905 head coach Patrick Mutombo and Raptors assistant Fabulous (Fab) Flournoy. Head coach Nick Nurse watched from the sidelines.

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“It was simply the power I suppose, I don’t actually know. They had been simply upbeat and knew what they had been doing and it was straight to the purpose. It was simply actually cool,” Champagnie mentioned. “We went out for dinner and it was only a actually good vibe.

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“And naturally I had heard concerning the fame with bringing gamers up and creating them — however simply the vibe alone form of caught me.”

Toronto has constructed a wonderful fame of creating gamers via its G League affiliate Raptors 905, together with present Raptors starters Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam. So Champagnie has no qualms of being on a two-way deal, and probably spending a lot of the season taking part in in Mississauga, Ont.

“I simply wanted my foot within the door, I’ll determine it out from there,” he mentioned. “I’m at all times hungry for extra, able to work.”

Requested how his capability to haul down rebounds at his comparatively small measurement, Champagnie mentioned “Simply go do it.”

“I attempt to watch groups and see what they do, however no person desires to play arduous, everybody desires to be lackadaisical and simply stand up and down the ground a bit of bit. In case you put that power out, nobody goes to cease you,” he mentioned.

It’s about extra than simply effort although, it’s about studying angles.

“It’s form of like when somebody shoots the ball, I’ve already imagined the place it’s going to go, so I’m going to that spot and more often than not it goes that approach, so I’m there,” he mentioned.

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Champagnie mentioned he’s fortunate to have grown up as a twin; he was by no means in need of an opponent to play in opposition to.

“Simply rising up, he form of pushed me, he was my motivation, having somebody to go in opposition to every day and push you to be a greater model of your self,” he mentioned.

Champagnie and twin brother Julian had been practically inseparable rising up, and folks referred to every of them merely as “twin,” as a result of it was powerful to inform them aside. They performed on the identical AAU staff, and had meant to attend the identical college, however Julian selected to remain near residence whereas Justin needed to maneuver away and have his personal house to develop and mature. He averaged staff highs of 18 factors and 11.1 rebounds final season.

Julian, who didn’t enter the draft, is a third-year guard for the Pink Storm.

Their dad Ranford performed soccer at St. John’s, main them to an NCAA title in 1996.

Champagnie — which is pronounced “sham-penny” — shot 7-for-12 on Monday, flattening a pair of three-pointers. He mentioned he’s been engaged on his taking pictures as a part of the Raptors’ nightly “taking pictures lab.” He ought to see loads of taking part in time once more Thursday when the Raptors go to Philadelphia to proceed the pre-season.

The Raptors open the common season at residence on Oct. 20 versus Washington, and as predicted shall be absolutely vaccinated. The staff introduced Wednesday that the lone member of the group who was awaiting a second dose has obtained it.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Oct. 6, 2021.

© 2021 The Canadian Press | Champagnie says his choice was at all times Toronto


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