The Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward four-star center remained the No. 51 player in the class, in part thanks to a strong showing at the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Va. At 6-9, 205, Funderburk has elite athleticism and endurance for a player of his size and would be capable of helping the Buckeyes in transition right now. He will have to continue to add strength and develop a semblance of a back to the basket game.
“So far it’s been a pretty successful outcome,” Funderburk told Scout.com’s Jacquie Franciulli at the camp. “I came in with the mindset that I am going to try to win every matchup I have. Last year I was more worried about stats, trying to get shots up and trying to get my rank up but this year I’m just trying to make other people better around me.
“I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better, my basketball IQ, my vision. I just need to work on my shooting a little bit more and my strength and I will be fine.”
Recruting expert Brian Snow called the camp a step in the right direction for Funderburk as the center enters his senior season fully committed to be a Buckeye. Head coach Thad Matta and assistant Jeff Boals are in continual contact with the defensive presence, Funderburk said, a key factor in his decision to come to what he considers his hometown team.
“I love the loyalty they have to their players,” he said. “Being a hometown kid it’s just a different level of respect that you get there coming from Ohio and I just know that I won’t be overlooked but I still have to earn my position because they have five great players coming in for the 2015 class and some guys that are redshirted and some guys that are still there.”
As Funderburk intimated, he will be joining a crowded frontcourt rotation when he arrives on campus in the fall of 2016. He is one of two post players committed in his class, joining Mentor (Ohio) High School center Micah Potter while 2015 center commit Daniel Giddens, Trevor Thompson and Dave Bell will be on campus when the pair of Ohio commits arrive. Potter is not ranked in the top 100.
The frontcourt seems set for the Buckeyes and as such the Ohio State staff is focusing on backcourt players with the remaining spots in the 2016 class.
One of those targets, five-star shooting guard Markelle Fultz, participated in the NBPA Top 100 Camp along with Funderburk and showed off his elite scoring ability in Charlottesville, Va. The Hyattsville (Maryland) Dematha Catholic High School guard scored in the paint and from deep throughout the tournament. Fultz moved up one spot to the 22nd ranked player in the class and is considered a solid three-point shooter though his ball handling could be improved. He is drawing interest from Arizona, Louisville, Xavier, Washington, Kentucky, Maryland, Georgetown, Virginia and Virginia Tech as well as the Buckeyes.
While the Buckeyes are pursuing Fultz, the top remaining prize for Ohio State in the 2016 class is Kobi Simmons. The Alpharetta (Georgia) St. Francis High School point guard is the fifth ranked player in the 2016 class and in addition to Ohio State, Simmons has offers from Kansas, Missouri, NC State, North Carolina, Syracuse and Texas among others.
At 6-5, Simmons has the size to be a force at the point guard position in college. While he has never lived in Ohio, he has ties to the Buckeye state as his stepfather is from Cincinnati. Ohio State assistant and former Duke point guard Greg Paulus is the Buckeyes’ lead man on Simmons’ recruitment.
Ohio State continues to recruit University of Detroit Jesuit point guard Cassius Winston, the No. 27 player in the class. The Buckeyes are likely on the outside looking in as Michigan and Michigan State lead his recruitment, though Winston likely will visit campus, Snow said.