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Keatts: Funderburk, Daniels to go through NBA Draft process

NC State coach Kevin Keatts did a Zoom call with members of the local media on Thursday. Much was discussed in the call, including the coach’s culinary talents; however, one of the bigger takeaways involved DJ Funderburk and Devon Daniels.

According to Keatts, both plan to go through the NBA Draft process.

As of right now, there’s still so much up in the air regarding the NBA Draft. The league is currently at a standstill as it looks to cope with COVID-19. While the draft is certainly a priority, it’s taking a backseat to a variety of other matters, ones more closely tied to if/when the 2019-20 season will actually start again. It’s been just two weeks since the NBA suspended play.

For fringier prospects like Funderburk and Daniels, this complicates the process. The NCAA has said it will work with the NBA from a coordination standpoint. The ability to participate in workouts for teams, conduct interviews, even the combine — that’s all up in the air.

Looking at things from a cost-benefit perspective, though, there’s no real reasons for Daniels and Funderburk to not try to gain whatever information is out there.

 

Quick Numbers: DJ Funderburk

Funderburk and Daniels emerged as two of the more underrated players in the ACC this season. By some metrics, Funderburk was a top 10-15 player in the conference.

In his second season, with the Wolfpack, the 6-foot-10 Funderburk played in 30 games (15 starts) and averaged 12.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Funderburk was especially good on the offensive glass and in the pick-and-roll game with Markell Johnson.

A versatile and vocal defender, Funderburk guarded 1-5 this season. While playing more minutes with Manny Bates, Funderburk was pushed to the 4; in NC State’s defensive scheme, Keatts has his players switch 1-4. This meant a variety of different assignment, on and off the ball, for Funderburk. He handled that change adeptly — even if it meant switching on Miami’s Chris Lykes, a super-speedy point guard that stands at least 15 inches shorter than Funderburk.

While he may not land on many top 60-100 prospects lists for 2020, Funderburk has a good frame, a strong lower body and sizes that are projectable for the modern NBA game. So far, we haven’t seen much of a jumper — yet. However, he’s shown some courage from deep (45 3PA, career) and his high free throw percentage (76 FG%) is encouraging, too.

 

Quicker Numbers: Devon Daniels

Daniels transformed his game during the 2019-20 season, too. His 3-point attempt rate actually dropped, but he settled for fewer long 2s and awkward floaters this season. Daniels got to the rim more frequently.

According to Bart Torvik’s site: during the 2018-19 season, about 51 percent of his 2-point attempts came around the hoop. This season that number jumped to just under 62 percent. As a result, his free throw rate jumped as well: 3.7 FTA per 40 minutes, up from 2.9 FTA per 40 last season.

According to Synergy Sports, Daniels shot 50.6 percent out of the pick-and-roll this season. Daniels also scored 1.13 points per possession in transition, per Synergy — good for No. 8 in the ACC (50+ possessions).

In terms of usage, Daniels mostly stayed flat (21.5 percent); however, the 6-foot-5 saw his efficiency jump across the board. And while Daniels took on greater play-making duties, his turnover rate dropped: 17.4 percent.

 

NC State: If they return…

It’s rather simple: with Markell Johnson and CJ Bryce headed out the door, Funderburk and Daniels could be the two best players on NC State’s roster next season — if they return. Funderburk could easily, once again, be one of the better frontcourt players in the conference.

Hypothetically: Daniels and Funderburk — along with Bates, Braxton Beverly and Jericole Hellems — is a nice nucleus to return.

That’s before you even factor in transfer Thomas Allen — initially an NC State commit who got out of his LOI in 2017, before committing to Nebraska — Dereon Seabron (an academic redshirt this season) and JUCO transfer AJ Taylor.

NC State, of course, is set to bring in a top-10 recruiting class in 2020, too.