Pitt small forward Justin Champagnie is one of three college basketball players in the nation averaging at least 18 points and 10 rebounds per game this season, and that has gone not gone unnoticed, as he was one of 30 players included on the Naismith Trophy Midseason Team, which was released on Thursday.
The honorary team created by the Atlanta Tipoff Club included only two other ACC standouts in Carlik Jones of Louisville and Jose Alvarado of Georgia Tech. However, it featured some other familiar faces, such as former Pitt point guard Marcus Carr and former Pitt frontcourt targets Kofi Cockburn of Illinois and Hunter Dickinson of Michigan.
Champagnie earned his spot on the team by posting ACC-best averages of 19.2 points and 12.0 rebounds per game. And even though his season was put on hold by a knee injury that he suffered in December, the Brooklyn native has not shown any signs of slowing down, as he has scored in double figures in all 13 of the games he has played this season.
The Pitt wing’s inclusion on the list is especially impressive based on his class, as 19 of the 30 players on the list are upperclassmen, making him one of just 11 underclassmen recognized. Still, he is fast becoming one of the most heralded players in the nation, as his name has come up in multiple mock drafts and he has earned a variety of accolades.
So far, Champagnie has been named the ACC Player of the Week on three occasions as well as a midseason All-American by ESPN. In addition, he has been placed on the late-season watch list for the Wooden Award as well as the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year honor. Given all that, it seems a good chance exists that the Pitt star could take home a major honor this season, but much will depend on how he closes out the campaign.