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DJ Funderburk to return to NC State for senior season, withdraws from draft

NC State basketball announced substantial news on Friday: DJ Funderburk will withdraw from the 2020 NBA Draft and return for his senior season. Funderburk made the announcement in an official post on GoPack.com.

During the 2019-20 season, the 6-foot-10 Funderburk emerged, playing in 30 games (15 starts) with averages of 12.8 points (72.5 FG% at the rim) and 6.1 rebounds per game. Funderburk finished with a team-high 43 dunks last season, too.

With Funderburk’s decision to return to Raleigh, Virginia’s Jay Huff is the only ACC player with his name still in the draft pool that’s left the door open for a return to college.

College prospects have until Aug. 3 to withdraw from the draft — or 10 days after the combine. For now, though, the combine is without a date, too. (Huff, like Funderburk, didn’t receive an invitation to the combine. He’s likely to return to Virginia, which would add to an already loaded roster in Charlottesville.)

Funderburk is an excellent player, but he’s far from a serious NBA prospect at the moment. In that regard, his return is no surprise, although it will be welcomed by head coach Kevin Keatts.

Going back several months, Funderburk has been enrolled for summer schools at NC State; he hoped to get some workouts in with NBA teams, according to Keatts. However, with NBA facilities off limits due to COVID-19, that annual enterprise won’t happen in 2020.

The return of Funderburk gives NC State an interesting lineup mix as the Wolfpack look to reboot after the Markell Johnson era. Traditionally under Keatts, the Pack have played small: four guards or wings and one post player. This opened the floor for spread pick-and-roll on offense and allowed NC State to switch 1-4 defensively.

But with Funderburk and Manny Bates, Keatts played more lineups with traditional bigs in the 2019-20 season. As of right now, a projected starting five for NC State in 2020-21 likely features both Bates and Funderburk.

Funderburk showed a willingness and proficiency switching screens, on and off ball this season, which allowed NC State to stay flexible on defense while playing bigger than ever before under Keatts. Funderburk has some stretch capabilities; however, he’s just 11-of-45 (24.4 3P%)

In the post on GoPack.com, Funderburk described his decision-making process and the excitement for a return to NC State.

It was a unique process, especially this year with everything going on in the world, but I appreciate everybody that took the time to give me feedback. At this time, I’m announcing my decision to return to NC State for my senior season. I think we have all the pieces to have a great season and I’m excited to help lead the team back to the NCAA Tournament

 

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