TORONTO – Julian Champagnie has witnessed the rigors of the NBA season first-hand from his twin brother Justin, and so has no illusions about playing basketball on the game’s biggest stage.
Julian said: “I certainly respect (Justin). “He’s had some really high moments and some really low moments when he’s not playing (during his rookie season with the Raptors), and I know how he feels, that is difficult. Seeing him persevere and keep working harder and finally find his role, is such an amazing thing to watch. ”
Julian Champagnie said it’s been several years since the 20-year-old identical twins played together, but they were at the same OVO Athletic Center in Toronto on Wednesday.
The Raptors brought Julian in for pre-draft training, while Justin — who has a one-season two-way deal with the Raptors and their G League affiliate Raptors 905 — was training with some teammates in the gym. sex.
The brothers went their separate ways after high school, Julian going to St. John’s, where he played three seasons of NCAA basketball, Justin went to Pittsburgh, where he played two seasons. He played poorly last year, but the Raptors signed the little forward 6-6 shortly after.
Julian Champagnie, who shot 41.4% last season, says their games are quite different. He talks more about a shooter, while his brother plays a more power game.
Toronto marks Champagnie’s sixth stop on his pre-NBA training schedule, and he has a few more points to complete. So the odds are very low he will end up on the same pro team as his brother.
But it’s a nice thought.
“It would be great. We haven’t played together in a while so it might be difficult at first, I think we’ve developed differently both as people and as players,” said Champagnie.
Who will win in a one-on-one battle?
“I will definitely beat him one on one,” said Champagnie with a laugh.
The fact that the six-foot-tall guard is on trial at the OVO Sports Center is news in itself – it’s the first time the team has been able to bring players to Toronto for pre-draft training in three years due to COVID-19 pandemic. At this time last year, the Raptors were taking players through the steps at their temporary home in Tampa, Fla. Two years ago, teams had to resort to virtual meetups with players and any college game movies available.
“Honestly, it’s been such a challenge over the past few years,” Toronto’s vice president of player personnel Dan Tolzman said Wednesday. “In (2020) the pandemic was a challenge for every team and then last year I think we more than most teams are continuing to deal with these challenges.
“And to have some sense of normalcy and return to our usual activities during pre-draft, it makes things a little more comfortable, and. . . from an employee morale point of view, just like we are doing in our usual way. It makes things a little easier and smoother. “
The Raptors decided to make a comeback in this year’s draft as they put their first pick in the trade for Thaddeus Young.
Thorough preparation – and a dose of luck – will determine who they get in the June 23 draft in Brooklyn.
“There are always two, two plus, names that we will probably rank in our 20s or at least above our pick that will end up there (at 33) that we have to really care, think again and argue a little stronger,” said Tolzman.
“We’re working really hard to try to narrow down the group of people that we think we’re going to look at, and then try to fit the people we like into that group. But then you also have to be prepared for the 5 to 10 guys who might turn to you just in case, and then how do they compare to the guys we’re prepared for that we expect to have. face there? “
The Raptors picked Scottie Barnes with the #4 pick in last year’s draft, and he went on to win the NBA’s rookie of the year title. Toronto-born Dalano Banton became the first Canadian drafted by the Raptors when they picked him with the 46th pick.
This Canadian Press report was first published on June 8, 2022.
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