NBA prospect Julian Champagnie breaks down what he's been asked to do in workouts with NBA teams, growing up with Justin Champagnie and how they've helped each other excel in basketball.
- It looks like you've got a lot of Intel on what these situations are like. Did that help you?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: Yeah, I think it definitely helped me coming into these workouts and stuff like that. Justin has helped me a lot-- a whole lot. Some of it makes me nervous. Some of it makes me confident. So it's coming in here, just taking what he says, and just playing hard.
- What kind of advice did he give you?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: The competing part, really-- that guys want to see people compete. And to play hard-- that's kind of been his biggest thing to me. And I've been taking that and running with it.
- If you were to give yourself a scouting report, how would your game be similar to your twin brother's or different than your brother?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: I think we play pretty different. I think he plays more of a power game. I think this year, he got a lot better with his shooting. So I'd say we're starting to shoot the same. But for me, I say I'm a shooter. I space the floor out-- play hard and stuff like that. I kind of just fill roles on the court.
- The decision to go back to school when your brother came out-- was it a hard decision? And then why did you make it? And do you think you benefited from it?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: I wasn't that hard. I mean, from the standpoint of me and him going separate routes, we already went separate routes two years before. So it was pretty easy. He was very supportive of that too. So that was a plus for me. But going back to school, you know, I had a surgery on my wrist. So I had to you know, cut my losses and go back. So that was that. And, I mean, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed going back. I think I went back, and got better, and improved myself.
- I mean, do you have more respect having someone so close to you and comparable to you go through an NBA season? A lot of guys-- when you're a younger man, I can be in in the league. Look, I'm that guy, that guy, that guy. When you see someone like Justin-- you know, he had some high moments. And he had some low moments.
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: Yeah, I mean, I definitely have a lot more respect for him. I mean, he is my son, so-- you'll hear him say that one. But I definitely have a lot of respect for him. You know, going through, it he did have some really high moments. And he had some really low ones where he wasn't playing. And, you know, being on the back seat with him and knowing how he felt-- it was tough. And seeing him persevere and continue to go harder and eventually find his role and find his way-- it was something nice to watch.
- But just the whole process of even making the league-- having, like you said, someone you know so well kind of go through the ups and the downs-- does it kind of make you appreciate how hard it is? Not that you didn't know anyway--
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I already kind of knew, from a general consensus of how hard it was. But watching him go through it and watching his day-to-day basis, really in the beginning of the year-- a newfound respect for it. Yeah.
- What kind of feedback have you had through these workouts from this one in particular?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: I've had some pretty good feedback for the most part. It's my sixth workout. I leave today for Miami. So far, I've had pretty good feedback. It's pretty much the same thing-- continue to play hard and continue to play with energy. And then shoot the basketball. That's my specialty-- shooting basketball and spacing the floor. So as long as I continue to do that and play hard, I think I'll feel all right.
- What would it be like playing with your brother on the same team again?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: It'll be cool. I mean, we haven't played in a while together, you know? So it'd be probably a little difficult at first. But I think we've grown apart as people and as players. So, playing together again, I think we'd be able to find our role easier.
- Would you beat him one-on-one?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: I would beat him one-on-one. I definitely would.
- Did you guys used to bang heads a lot when you were younger?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: We did. He used to beat me a lot. He used to beat me a lot one-on-one and just in general-- but not anymore. Can't happen.
- I would say shooting is like a skill that's in demand in the NBA. Have you found in these workouts that it's any different, being guarded by NBA players or NBA-caliber players, to get shots off? How do you think that all of that change will be?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: I mean, a lot of-- so, a lot of the coaches are telling me that it'd probably be a little easier for me to get shots off in the NBA because I won't be the focal point of a defense. I mean, you have guys like Fred and Pascal who are here. Those guys are the guys for this team, you know? So guys who just sit in the corner and space out-- those are easier shots. So, in that case-- but definitely playing one-on-one, playing two-on-three, three-on-three and stuff like that-- you've got to figure out where to get your shots. It's a lot more moving. It's not a lot of a one-on-one game in these workouts. It's, how can you play as a team, because that's what you have to come in and do.
- And kind of more cerebral-- more thinking in the game-- when you're on the court?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: Basically. Yeah.
- Do you remember the other [INAUDIBLE] you worked out for?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: Yeah, so Minnesota was my first one. Then I went to Golden State, Utah, New Orleans, and then here.
- Are the workouts kind of similar at each place? Or do they emphasize different things?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: Everyone pretty much does the same thing. Some teams do different things. It's mostly shooting, one-on-one, Three-on-three-- and then every team has their own type of shooting-conditioning drill. We had the 2 minute 30 one here. Golden State did the same one. And then a lot of other teams, they do 100 [? crash. ?] So it's almost the same thing.
- Like how long it takes to get 100 shots in?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: No, it's like-- they have a set 100 shots, and they want to see how many you make out of 100.
- I see.
- Did you do any film work. Do they get you to break down stuff?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: Golden State did-- Golden State showed me some clips. So did Minnesota-- of just good and bad.
- Of yourself?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: Yeah. And they expect you to talk about what happened and be honest.
- Oh, yeah?
- Since you finished school-- or your season-- have you been 100% focused on this, like you have to have similar training and training for workouts, basically?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: Yeah, we ended our season-- I think it was mid-March-- I think it was-- one of those days. Once I finished, I think I took a week off. I was supposed to take two weeks off, but it's hard. And I just left and went to Miami. That's where I'm at right now working out. So I left. I've been here since.
- And working-- is Justin coming to work out with you once [INAUDIBLE], or?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: No, he's been between here and back home in Pittsburgh. He'll go back and work out with his college coaches. It's been hard him to get to Miami. And I'm always on the road. So I don't think it makes sense for him to come down and I'm not there.
- So it was just nice to see him here, then?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: Basically, yeah. I haven't seen him in about two months-- something like that.
- Did you go for dinner last night or whatever?
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: He took me to get a haircut. He took me to get a haircut.
- [INAUDIBLE] get a haircut. I don't know [INAUDIBLE].
- Every other [? stop ?] it is.
- Thank you very much.
JULIAN CHAMPAGNIE: Thanks, you guys.