Pitt small forward Justin Champagnie was named the ACC Player of the Week on Monday, following historic back-to-back 20-point, 20-rebound games against Northwestern and Gardner-Webb. And while Champagnie may have seemed like the obvious choice for the honor, it’s worth noting that such obvious answers have eluded ACC officials before — especially with regard to the Brooklyn native.
Last season, Champagnie won National Freshman of the Week honors after posting a career-high 30 points in Pitt’s 73-64 win over Georgia Tech. Champagnie’s performance also saw him win back-to-back ACC Freshman of the Week honors. But despite multiple in-season awards at the conference and national level, the Pitt wing was snubbed for All-ACC honors, receiving no votes in any category.
The snub was especially glaring in the ACC All-Freshman Team category, as the Pitt star outscored and outrebounded Florida State shooting guard Patrick Williams and Duke shooting guard Cassius Stanley, who received 29 and 36 votes, respectively. Specifically, Champagnie averaged 12.7 points and 7.0 rebounds, while Stanley posted 12.6 points and 4.9 rebounds and Williams put up a mediocre 9.2 points and 4.0 boards per game.
This season, it seems Champagnie will be harder to ignore, as he has elevated his averages to 19.4 points and 13.0 rebounds per game through Pitt’ s first five games. Should Champagnie maintain his current form against ACC competition, he should not only be a lock for future ACC Player of the Week honors, but also some overdue All-ACC recognition.
As for his current award-winning run, the Brooklyn native has averaged 22.0 points and 20.5 rebounds over the last week and led Pitt to a 71-70 win over Northwestern and a 67-50 win over Gardner-Webb. In the win over the Wildcats, Champagnie had 20 points and 20 rebounds and posted the first 20-20 game by a Pitt player since DeJuan Blair in 2009.
And after coming up with 24 points and 21 rebounds against the Runnin’ Bulldogs, Champagnie became the first Division I player to post two straight 20-20 games since Caleb Swanigan of Purdue accomplished the feat in 2016. Champagnie also ended another drought that had persisted since 2016, as he became Pitt's first ACC Player of the Week since Michael Young earned the honor that year.