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Julian Champagnie steals spotlight in Vegas Summer League opener, shreds Hornets player on a poster dunk

The former Johnny scored a team-high 20 points and snatched James Nnaji’s soul

Julian Champagnie dunking over James Nnaji in Summer League game between San Antonio Spurs and Charlotte Hornets Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

All of the lights descended on Las Vegas’s Thomas and Mack Center for the Summer League debut of French super-prospect, number one pick Victor Wembanyama on Friday night. But amidst rookie jitters from the top two picks in the NBA Draft, it was former St. John’s star Julian Champagnie who stole the spotlight with a game-high 20 points in a 76-68 Spurs win over the Hornets.

It was a slow start for both teams, as neither looked comfortable in front of a sold-out crowd. Second overall pick Brandon Miller scored a team-high 16 points for Charlotte, but left a lot to be desired by firing 5-for-15 from the field. The aforementioned Wembanyama put on a tepid performance, scoring just 9 points on 2-for-13 shooting and getting a “welcome to the NBA” moment from Kai Jones.

The Spurs would answer back with a posterizer of their own and it would come from the former Red Storm star. Early in the fourth quarter, Champagnie found a clear lane with only James Nnaji standing between him and the basket. Very boldly, Champagnie went airborne and hammered it over the taller Nnaji.

Champagnie also delivered with substance. Aside from another good day behind the arc (4-for-10), he also logged 8 rebounds and 6 assists, played solid defense, and showed good chemistry in the two-man game with Wembanyama, Malaki Branham, and Dominick Barlow.

The Spurs will be in action again on Sunday night when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers. That game can be watched on ESPN2 at 8:00 pm eastern time.