D.J. Funderburk didn’t get to work out for any teams or attend an organized Combine while in the NBA’s draft process this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But he still got plenty of benefit from the experience.
“The best advice I was probably given was just keep my head down and keep working,” the NC State senior said Tuesday during a virtual media conference. “You don’t have to go find them, they’ll find you eventually. That was my whole mindset in the summer, to work on the things the teams wanted to see me improve on.”
The 6-foot-10 Funderburk has already upped his game since joining the Wolfpack two seasons ago.
He was one of the ACC’s most improved players, raising his scoring average four points from 8.8 as a sophomore to 12.8 as a junior while adding two more rebounds per game while increasing his field goal percentage to .609 — the third-highest mark in school history.
Most of his growth came during the ACC portion of the schedule, after the emergence of redshirt freshman Manny Bates allowed Funderburk to move from center to power forward.
As much progress as he made, Funderburk said that the NBA scouts still want to see more from him — especially when it comes to consistency and his skills facing the basket.
“A couple of teams felt like there were a few games last year where I would score a lot or do a lot to help my team and then in another half my presence wouldn’t be felt as much as it was before,” Funderburk said. “That was one thing. And then my shooting ability, that was another big thing for me. I’ve been working on that. I’ve been working on my aggression and not trying to pass the ball all the time.”
While State coach Kevin Keatts is fine with a little extra aggression, he’d prefer to see Funderburk pass more, not less.
“He only had eight assists last year,” Keatts said. “So if we’re going to play him at the four spot, he’s got to improve those types of (things).”
Funderburk was one of two Wolfpack players that elected to test the NBA draft waters after last season.
Unlike teammate Devon Daniels, who withdrew his name early in the process, Funderburk stayed in all the way up to the extended deadline in hopes that conditions would eventually allow for in-person workouts.
But that didn’t happen.
Now that he’s back, Funderburk is determined to make the most of his senior season at State while enhancing both his team’ chances of getting back to the NCAA tournament and his own chances of rising in the 2021 draft.
“This summer a little bit I was thinking about workouts and stuff like that, but I figured with COVID going on the majority of (teams) would go with the guys they’ve been looking at,” Funderburk said. “But I never really thought about anything else other than just keep working and trying to improve so when I get that call, maybe it will be there.”