Welcome to A10 Talk’s Top 25 Player Countdown. Each day, we publish a new article counting down the 25 best players in the Atlantic 10 this past season, as voted by our staff. Today, we feature #25 Taylor Funk of Saint Joseph’s.
Taylor Funk came out of the gates firing, literally, at the start of the 2017-18 season, and the freshman never looked back. In a year of turbulence and injuries, yet again, SJU had to manage with what it had left, and that was made possible with the emergence of Funk. He asserted himself as one of the best three point shooters in the league from the start, and he progressed as a full player as the year came to a close. Helping SJU to a 4th place finish without Brown or Kimble, Funk is ready to take the Hawks to new heights in 2018-19.
Part of the reason Taylor Funk became a household name in the A-10 so quickly is because he got off to such a hot start in November. He hit 13 threes in his first 3 games as a Hawk, and back-to-back 20+ point performances against Illinois Chicago and Princeton gave the Hawks a 2-1 start that was critical to build some confidence.
Funk certainly had some nights where he struggled with his 3 point shot, a prime example being an 0-8 night where the Hawks fell by three to George Mason at home. However, he never fell into a prolonged shooting slump; Funk recovered the very next game and knocked down 4 triples for a big win over Richmond on the road. There’s no doubt that Funk was crucial for SJU winning some of its biggest games. When he played well, so did the Hawks. Take his 17 point night against URI on the road where he didn’t miss a shot as a prime example.
32. The freshman played in all 32 games for the Hawks this past season, averaging 28.8 minutes per contest. He even earned himself a starting spot by the time conference play rolled around.
10. Taylor Funk had 10 games this season where he knocked down at least 4 triples.
4.9 Funk averaged 4.9 rebounds per game and quietly became one of the best Hawks on the glass despite spending quite a bit of time around the three point line. He had a career-high 13 boards in a loss to GMU.
The Hawks had an impressive season, all things considered. Finishing 4th in the Atlantic 10 was a nice surprise for Phil Martelli’s team, and the Hawks had the URI Rams scared for a good portion of the A-10 semifinals. Taylor Funk had some big moments throughout his first year, and with some crucial pieces back next season, I believe the Hawks have a great shot at winning the league. If Funk continues to knock down three pointers like he does and continues to develop on the boards and as a defender, he’s going to be a dangerous player for years to come.