Former Pitt star Justin Champagnie cut his college career short under the assumption that he had accomplished enough to earn a selection in the 2021 NBA draft. However, when all 60 picks were revealed just before 1 a.m. ET on Friday, his name was not among those called. Champagnie would not go unclaimed, though, as the Toronto Raptors signed him to a two-way contract.
The deal between the 6’6”, 200-pound forward and the Raptors was first reported by Jake Weingarten of Stockrisers. And while Champagnie fell short of becoming Pitt’s first draft pick since Lamar Patterson went to the Atlanta Hawks in the second round in 2014, he did become the first Pitt alum to sign a two-way deal since Jamel Artis and Mike Young both signed with NBA teams back in 2017.
Prior to the draft, Champagnie expressed confidence in his chances of getting selected, going so far as to say that he had been assured by at least one team that he would be selected in the draft if he fell to them. He also said that based on the feedback he had received, he did not believe he would go undrafted.
In terms of undrafted free agents, Champagnie was one of the first 10 to come off the board, with only a notable few that included Gonzaga’s Joel Ayayi, Michigan State’s Aaron Henry and Ohio State’s Duane Washington among those to sign ahead of him. All told, less than half an hour elapsed between the end of the draft and the announcement that the Pitt product had signed an NBA contract.
During his two seasons at Pitt, Champagnie was able to make an instant impact as a freshman and ascend into a leadership role as a sophomore. In his most recent season, he averaged 18.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per game for the Panthers and finished second in ACC Player of the Year voting. He concluded his Pitt career with a total of 779 points and 453 rebounds as well as career averages of 14.7 points and 8.5 rebounds.
Champagnie will be the second Pitt alum to sign with the Raptors organization in the last 16 months, as Jared Wilson-Frame played for Raptors 905 during the 2019-20 season. But the two will not get a chance to play alongside each other, as Wilson-Frame is no longer with the team. As for the Raptors, the team won its first NBA title in 2019 but has backslid, going 27-45 in the 2020-21 season.