The accolades keep rolling in for Pitt wing Justin Champagnie, as he was named the National Freshman of the Week by CBS Sports on Tuesday afternoon. Champagnie earned ACC Freshman of the Week honors on Monday for the second time in three weeks, and the latest awards follow the best performance of his Pitt career to date.
In Pitt’s 73-64 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday, Champagnie put a Panthers team with minimal backcourt depth on his back and poured in a career-high 30 points to go with nine rebounds, two steals and a block. All that came just three days after the Brooklyn native contributed 20 points and 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season in Pitt’s 80-72 loss to Notre Dame last Wednesday.
Champagnie’s presence has eased a burden that was squarely on the shoulders of Xavier Johnson and Trey McGowens last season, and McGowens recently discussed what the wing’s contributions have meant to the team.
”It’s a big relief,” McGowens said. “There’s always the pressure that if you don’t do good or score — because you feel like your team’s going to rely on you so much, and you feel like that’s your role — that if you don’t score, the chances [of winning] are decreased by a lot. So just having Justin playing well, it just takes a lot of stress off us where we can just pass, not force things, stuff like that.”
Twenty-four games into the schedule, Champagnie ranks second on the team in scoring, as he is averaging 12.6 points per game. He has also scored in double figures in five of his last six games and leads the team with 7.3 rebounds per game.
Champagnie is the first member of the team to earn a national honor of any sort since Pitt guard Tray Woodall in 2012. This year’s previous National Freshman of the Week honorees include Georgia guard Anthony Edwards, Memphis forward Precious Achiuwa and Duke center Vernon Carey Jr.