One-on-one: Why Champagnie prioritizes Pitt


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Justin Champagnie yells in Pitt's season-opening victory over Florida State at Petersen Events Center. – MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

Nobody expected Justin Champagnie to be this good, this fast.

Nobody except Champagnie himself, that is.

“I didn’t really surprise myself," Champagnie was telling me of his freshman season at Pitt in a phone interview.

When Champagnie delivers such a statement, it's easy to see it on the surface as cocky or pompous. With him, though, it's anything but. He's humble and motivated, backed by family, including his mom, his father Ranford (who won the 1996 National Championship as a soccer player at St. John's) and his twin brother Julian, who averaged 9.9 points and 6.5 rebounds per game as a freshman at St. John's last year.

“That’s my support system, is my family," Champagnie was telling me. "When anything’s going wrong, I always — obviously, I always talk to the coaches — but my first outlet is to my parents and my brother. Those are the main people that keep me going. It’s good knowing you have that family behind you no matter what.”

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