Funderburk, Daniels To Go Through NBA Draft Process

Brett Friedlander

NC State juniors D.J. Funderburk and Devon Daniels have both filed the paperwork to enter the NBA's pre-draft process, coach Kevin Keatts said Thursday.

Speaking on a video conference with members of the local media, Keatts said that the players made the decision shortly after the season came to an abrupt end because of the coronavirus crisis.

He said that he expects both to be back with the Wolfpack for their final season of eligibility in 2020-21 and that the feedback they get from from the NBA scouts will be beneficial to both the players and the team.

"I don't have any indication that anybody is not returning," Keatts said. "Two guys, D.J. Funderburk and Devon Daniels will both go through the process with the NBA to figure out what their status is and obviously learn a lot more about what they NBA folks think about them. They'll take the feedback and will make an informed decision about what their future is here."

Funderburk had a breakthough season in his second year with the Wolfpack. After missing the first two games while suspended for an incident involving a parking dispute, the 6-foot-10 junior blossomed into a versatile scorer and rebounder.

He finished tied for second on the team in scoring at 12.8 points per game while shooting 60.9 percent from the floor. He averaged 6.1 rebounds per game and recorded his first career double-double in a Jan. 20 win against Clemson.

Daniels also improved as the season went on. He averaged 12.7 points and 5.3 rebounds, along with 71 assists and 53 steals. He was arguably State's best player over the final month, a period in which he earned ACC Player of the Week honors after scoring a career-high 25 points in an upset of then-No. 65 Duke.

Keatts said he encouraged both Funderburk and Daniels to take advantage of the opportunity to be evaluated, It's a process he said helped point guard Markell Johnson when he went through it a year ago. 

 "When you've got guys that are juniors, and both of those guys are a little bit older, I think it's important that they get as much feedback as they can," Keatts said. "During those two guys' meetings we talked about filling out the paperwork to get that feedback. 

"That's the first step. Neither one of those guys know exactly what they're going to do, but we wanted them to fill out the information to get the feedback from the committee."

One of the uncertainties of this year's pre-draft process is that no one knows exactly what it will look like. Because the NBA has suspended all activities in response to the coronavirus pandemic, players will not be able work out for teams or participate in the league's annual pre-draft Scouting Combine.

It's a situation affecting graduating seniors as well as underclassmen considering the jump to the pros.

"I don't even know how the process will look," Keatts said. "C.J. Bryce and Markell Johnson were both invited to the (Portsmouth Invitational Tournament), but that's been canceled and I don't even know if guys will be able to have workouts."

While Keatts sounds confident that all 13 scholarship players on the Wolfpack's 2020-21 roster will still be on the team when next season begins, he's not taking any chances. Multiple sources have confirmed that the State coach has offered a scholarship to Santa Clara transfer and Charlotte native Trey Wertz.

Although Keatts is not allowed to comment on specific recruits, he did acknowledge that he hasn't stopped looking for talent, despite currently not having any scholarships available.

"We're talking to graduates, we're talking to different people," Keatts said. "I know everybody loves to do the numbers game and they'll add up and say 'well, you've already got 13 guys and you've only got 13 scholarships.'

"In today's world, I can go to the (transfer) portal tonight and we could have five guys in the portal, not that it's going to happen. What if (someone tells Funderburk) he's a late first round guy or something happens with Devin? You have to continue to recruit just in case those situations happen."

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