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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

NC State’s ACC Leaders Heading Into Week 6 of College Basketball

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We are heading into Week 6 of the 2018-19 Men’s College Basketball season, and NC State is currently 8-1. Here’s a look at which Wolfpack players rank among the ACC leaders through 9 games of non-conference play.

Senior Torin Dorn is leaving his mark all over the box score, ranking 11th in scoring (16.1), 13th in rebounding (7.2), 7th in steals (2.0) and 6th in field goal percentage (53.3%).

Junior Point Guard Markell Johnson ranks 7th in the ACC (4.22), 6th in Assist/Turnover Ratio (2.53) and 2nd in 3-Point Field Goal Percentage (48.6%).

 

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NC State Men’s Basketball Falls to #37 in the Week 6 Coaches Poll

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The Week 6 Coaches Poll is out, and the NC State Men’s Basketball team fell two spots to #37. Last week the Wolfpack only played one game, defeating Western Carolina 100-67. They will take on Penn State this Saturday in the Boardwalk Classic at 2pm in Atlantic City.

ACC Teams in the Week 6 Coaches Poll Top-25

2) Duke (+1)
3) Virginia (+1)
10) FSU (+1)
12) UNC (-)
13) Virginia Tech (+1)

ACC Teams Receiving Votes

32) Syracuse (+2)
37) NC State (-2)

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NC State Basketball

NC State Moves Up to #32 in the Week 6 AP Men’s Basketball Poll

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The Week 6 AP Men’s Basketball Poll is out, and NC State moved up 2 spots to #32 after beating Western Carolina 100-67 last Wednesday.

ACC Teams in the Week 6 AP Poll Top-25

2) Duke (+1)
6) Virginia (-2)
10) Florida State (+1)
12) UNC (+2)
13) Virginia Tech (+2)
25) Syracuse (+2)

ACC Teams Receiving Votes

32) NC State

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NC State Ranks 15th in NBCSports Week 6 Men’s Basketball Top-25

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NBCSports revealed their Week 6 Men’s College Basketball Top-25 last night, and NC State moved up two spots to #15.

Week 6 Top-25

1. Duke (9-1, Last week: 2)
2. Michigan (10-0, 3)
3. Tennessee (7-1, 6)
4. Gonzaga (9-1, 1)
5. Virginia (9-0, 4)
6. Kansas (8-0, 5)
7. Nevada (10-0, 7)
8. Auburn (8-1, 8)
9. North Carolina (7-2, 9)
10. Florida State (8-1, 10)
11. Texas Tech (8-0, 11)
12. Michigan State (8-2, 13)
13. Virginia Tech (8-1, 14)
14. Wisconsin (8-2, 15)
15. N.C. State (8-1, 17)
16. Ohio State (8-1, 19)
17. Arizona State (7-1, 20)
18. Purdue (6-4, 18)
19. Villanova (8-2, UR)
20. Syracuse (7-2, UR)
21. Marquette (8-2, UR)
22. Buffalo (9-0, UR)
23. Mississippi State (8-1, 25)
24. Iowa (7-2, 23)
25. Nebraska (8-2, 24)

New Additions: 19. Villanova, 20 Syracuse, 21. Marquette
Dropped Out: 12. Kentucky, 16. Kansas State, 21. Creighton (NBCSports)

NBCSports has been a believer in the Wolfpack from the start this year, ranking them 23rd in their Preseason Poll.

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