Freshman forward, Taylor Funk, has made a splash since arriving on Hawk Hill averaging 20.3 points and 5.3 rebounds. Although Funk has come off the bench in all three contests, he has made more 3s than the entire starting lineup combined, shooting 59% from deep on 22 attempts.
So, how good of a shooter is Funk? In a benchmarking analysis designed to forecast this season’s top shooters, his name appeared on a short list. Very short.
Funk is just the second freshman in the last eight seasons to make at least four 3’s on 50% shooting from deep in each of his team’s first three games. Altogether, there are only 11 players, including Funk, to accomplish this shooting feat in that time.
The list of players are all notable snipers from beyond the arc – Ben Hansbrough, Phil Forte, Kim English, James Blackmon, etc. Prior to this year, this group was seven players, averaging 44.2% from 3 in the season they accomplished the feat. No player shot less than 42.5% from deep. There is roughly a 10% margin in 3P% between this group and all other players as team 3P% has been around 34.5% over this time.
This year four new players - Grayson Allen, Cedric Russell, DJ Hogg & Taylor Funk - were added to the list, bringing the group to 11 players. Funk not only stands out for being just the second freshman, but he and Hogg are now the tallest players on the list at 6’9”.
If Funk finishes this season with a 3P% comparable to the other players on the list, he would be just the third player in the last 15 years, 6’9” or taller, to shoot at least 44% on 5+ attempts per game. He would join Valparaiso’s Alec Peters at 6’9” and Marquette’s Steve Novak at 6’10”.
Saint Joseph’s head coach Phil Martelli continued to heap praise on the freshman this week. “Taylor has a well-honed shooting form. His shot looks the same every time he releases the ball,” said Martelli. “He, like all players, must concern himself with only the next shot and not the last shot.”
With Allen, Russell, and Hogg having already missed the mark in their fourth game, Funk has an opportunity to stand alone in shooting history. Tune in Thursday as Saint Joseph’s takes on Washington State in the Wooden Legacy.