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NC State Basketball

PLAYER PREVIEW: After 2 years of waiting, DJ Funderburk is finally ready to shine

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Derek ‘DJ’ Funderburk, like many other players on this year’s NC State roster, will be suiting up in the red and white for the first time. He also, like many others, already has college basketball experience.

Out of high school, Funderburk committed to Ohio State University but was released after his redshirt season for “failing to meet expectations.” Instead of sitting a year and attempting to transfer, he spent what ended up being his freshman season, at Northwest Florida State College (which is a junior college).

Now a sophomore, the 6’9 forward is looking to put the past behind him get his career back on track.

“It’s exciting to me.” said Funderburk. “It’s my first year in division 1 college basketball. I’m obviously up for the challenge. Coach Keatts is a great guy. His coaching skills (come from) Hargrave so I’m kind of used to it, playing under AW, I’m ready to go.”

The transition to a new city and a new team may be softened by the fact that he joins a group not too unlike himself. Only 4 of the 12 players on the roster actually played at NC State last season, but 9 of the 12 have played college basketball at some level. Funderburk doesn’t see that as a disadvantage at all, in fact, he thinks it might work in the Pack’s favor.

“The chemistry is for sure there. I feel like we kind of clicked within the first 2 weeks of being around each other.” he said. “I like this team because I see everyone on the outside thinking “It’s a whole bunch of transfers and they won’t be ready. It’s going to be a rebuilding year.” That’s not going to be the case. I’m just ready to fool people and get a lot of upsets.”

Funderburk figures to play a big role on this team. With Omer Yurtseven’s transfer and State losing Abu and Freeman to graduation, the Wolfpack frontcourt is pretty thin. So what exactly does DJ bring to the table? (WATCH his JUCO highlights here)

“Having the ability to play inside and outside.” he told us. “Having the ability to run up and down the court and play defense as well as I can. I think that’s going to be a major asset to the team.”

Keatts is going to be relying on what he’s calling his “three-headed monster” which includes Funderburk, Samford transfer Wyatt Walker and freshman Ian Steere. We asked DJ what each guy will be able to uniquely contribute.

“90% of the time Wyatt gets it down there it’s a bucket, as far as post moves. And Ian, he’s a strong freshman. Very athletic. And me, I’m able to use my speed and my handle more to get around my defenders.”

Funderburk is exactly the type of big that Keatts needs. He’s got the versatility to be a matchup nightmare at the 4, but also can slot into the 5 when he wants to go small and fast (with Dorn at the 4).

No matter how he’s used, Funderburk if just happy to to finally get his chance to shine at college basketball’s highest level.

“It’s been a long time coming and everybody has their own testimony so I’m just ready to go. It’s been a tough road but I’m ready.”

See video above for the full interview (with more quotes).

NC State Basketball

The NEW & HUGE Video Board at PNC Arena has been Raised!

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Back in the Spring, news broke that a new video board was going to be hung up in PNC Arena before NC State’s upcoming Men’s Basketball season, and today we got our first look at it raised up in the rafters.

The video board is a whopping 4,000 square feet hanging in the air.

That’s 180% larger than the old one.

 

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NC State Basketball

Tip-Off Times Set for Most of NC State’s 2019-20 ACC Slate

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The NC State Men’s Basketball schedule was released last Thursday, but the tip-off times for all but one of their ACC games now have been revealed.

The only ACC game we don’t know the tip-off time for is the game at Wake Forest on December 7th.

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NC State Basketball

Katz Projects NC State as a #10 Seed in the 2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 50 Days Out

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We are 50 days out from the start of the 2019-20 College Men’s Basketball season, and NCAA.com’s Andy Katz released an early Bracketology, projecting that NC State will be a #10 seed in the 2020 NCAA Tournament, playing St. Mary’s in the 1st Round.

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Athlon Predicts NC State’s Men’s Basketball Team to Finish 5th in ACC in 2019-20

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Athlon released their 2019-20 College Basketball preview, and they predict that NC State’s Men’s Basketball team will finish 5th in the ACC this season.

  1. Duke
  2. Louisville
  3. UNC
  4. UVA
  5. NC State
  6. FSU
  7. Notre Dame
  8. Miami
  9. Syracuse
  10. Georgia Tech
  11. Clemson
  12. Boston College
  13. Wake Forest
  14. Pittsburgh
  15. Virginia Tech

Here’s a rundown of what they had to say about the Wolfpack.

  • Returning 6 of top 7 scorers from last year
  • Redshirt Junior D.J. Funderburk needs to rebound more consistently, and stay out of foul trouble.
  • The version of Senior Markell Johnson that finished the season will be needed for NC State to get back to the NCAA Tournament.
    • Needs to be a consistent leader and scorer.
  • Junior Braxton Beverly needs to figure out a way to run more hot than cold.
  • Consistency from Redshirt Junior Devon Daniels would go a long way.
  • Team should be back in the NCAA Tournament.
  • With a reloading year for Duke, UVA and UNC, Keatts will get few opportunities like this one.

Pick up your own copy of Athlon’s 2019 College Basketball Preview at your local store.

 

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