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Reviewing 2021 NBA Mock Draft predictions for Justin Champagnie

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NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This past season, Justin Champagnie stood out as the best player on the Pitt men’s basketball team. His breakthrough year (18 ppg, 11.1 rpg) was so spectacular, in fact, that Champagnie has decided to enter the NBA Draft after only two seasons at Pitt.

And while the NBA Draft is more than two months away, early mock draft projections aren’t too kind to him.

It’s worth pointing out that many of the projections out there only include the first round. And there, Champagnie doesn’t garner much consideration. SB Nation, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, and Bleacher Report all leave him out of their first round mocks. But The Athletic and NBADraft.net even include both rounds of the draft and Champagnie is absent in their predictions, too.

It’s not all bad news for the former Pitt star. Sports Illustrated slots him at No. 43, going in the second round to the Toronto Raptors. But by and large, he does not seemingly have a lot of buzz out there yet.

Time for him to panic? Nah, not at all. For one thing, these early mocks are a lot of guesswork. They won’t get more accurate, really, until much later in the process. The NBA Combine where workouts will take place, isn’t due to happen until June 21-27, and you can expect a good amount of shuffling after that.

I also don’t know how many of these sites even took into account that Champagnie would be a lock to go into the draft. Champagnie only recently announced that he was staying in the draft, after all. And while he declared earlier, his determination to stay in the Draft was only confirmed this month.

There are questions about his position, I think, given his size. But I still think a virtual 20/10 player from the ACC will ultimately get strong consideration. Champagnie’s numbers were too strong to ignore last year and even on a team that ultimately wasn’t that good, he was still able to produce while he was a focal point of defensive strategies.

Would I be surprised if he wasn’t selected? Probably a little. I guess? But as I’ve said before, there are so many ridiculously talented players at the collegiate level that it’s crazy. Then, throw in the fact there are only 60 players taken and that more spots are eaten up by international players — point blank, a lot of very good players don’t even sniff the NBA.

But we’ll see. My gut tells me that it’s too early to tell at this point. The real test will come at the Combine and when he gets to work out for teams privately. The early predictions aren’t super encouraging but it’s how he performs in those workouts that will determine where he winds up.

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