Things are picking up for 2016 Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward four-star center Derek Funderburk.
Tasked with the need for a big spring and summer on the AAU circuit after missing a portion of his high school season with a broken foot, Funderburk was excited to return to help lead his team to another state championship.
“We were undefeated up until the Shaker Heights game,” Funderburk said. “I hurt myself the day before the game. I broke my fifth metatarsal in my left foot. I was out for probably about four weeks. We got far enough down into the states to make a state run.
“I came back against our biggest rival, St. Ignatius. We beat them. Then we played East Tech in the state semifinals and then we played Upper Arlington in the championship game and we won by I think about three.”
Now fully entrenched in AAU season, Funderburk is still looking to find a rhythm with his game, dealing with lingering effects of the injury.
“I still feel it,” he said. “It kind of hurts right now but I’m playing through the pain and trying to help my team win. Other than that, it’s alright.”
Standing 6-foot-9, 205-pounds, Funderburk adds a different dimension when on the floor, the ability to stretch defenses with a developing jumper.
“I can shoot,” he said. “I’m not the best shooter there is but if you leave me open, I’ll shoot it. If you get up on me, I’ll try to blow by you.
“My handles are a little shaky. I can still handle people though.”
Michigan is one school that’s taken notice of Funderburk’s ability on the basketball floor, keeping in contact as much as NCAA rules allow.
“I’ve got a good feeling about it,” he said. “I always look to make sure the coach isn’t shady or (if) they’re just trying to play me.
“They always look me in my eyes when they’re talking to me. Nice firm hand shake and everything. It’s a nice school. I like it.”
“I think I’ll probably visit Michigan State, Michigan, Clemson hopefully,” he said. “That’s about it. Any other schools want me to come down there.”
Still in the early stages of his recruitment, Funderburk doesn’t plan to come to a decision until his senior year, with several different factors playing into the college program he’s eyeing.
“Obviously the coach, the playing time, what division they’re in,” he said. “I really like ACC teams. All of the eastside teams over near me.
“The last thing my dad told me, if it comes down too close, the last thing would be the sponsorship. I don’t really rock with Adidas like that.”