It’s All About ‘Home Cooking’: Coaching, Culture Elevating Andrew Funk’s Confidence

In Saturday’s win over Nebraska, Penn State men’s basketball small forward Andrew Funk drained his 250th career three-pointer.

Despite tallying most of his career triples during his four years at Bucknell, the fifth-year transfer has recorded 56 for the Nittany Lions through just 19 games with a .418 three-point make percentage.

In Penn State’s most recent outing, Funk led all scorers with 23 points and hoisted the Nittany Lions to an immediate 10-0 run in the opening two minutes of action, making a four-point play and an additional three-pointer.

“It’s big for confidence and, you know, I’ve said it before… When I see one go in it definitely helps me,” Funk said. “I’ve got to get a little better when that first one doesn’t go in, keep shooting it, but that’s definitely big for my confidence and setting the tone for 40 minutes going forward.”

“Setting the tone” was exactly what Funk did for the remainder of the game, and it reflected on the stat sheet against Nebraska.

After drawing a foul on the opening play, Funk managed to expose glaring gaps and flaws in the Cornhuskers’ strategy because of hesitant defenders on the perimeter, clearing the way for second-option shooters to become available.

“They’re kind of at my will of where I want to cut, so it’s definitely big getting that first call initially and then, you know, open up things going forward,” Funk said.

Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg mentioned the consistency of Penn State’s shot efficiency and described the hard-to-defend nature of the team, highlighted by Funk, Seth Lundy, and Jalen Pickett.

“[Funk’s] got a quick trigger and one of the quickest releases in the league, and when you put him and Lundy on that backside, you know, it’s pick your poison,” Hoiberg said.

However, the shots don’t always fall and that was evident in the Nittany Lions’ clash with Wisconsin on January 17. Although Funk locked in the second-most points behind Pickett, he shot just 4-for-11 from the field and 3-for-8 from behind the arc in the team’s three-point loss.

“He was down, man. He was down after he missed those shots at Wisconsin and he kind of put that on himself,” said head coach Micah Shrewsberry. “It wasn’t [his fault]. He got two great looks at it, and I’m going to take him any day of the week. He was upset after that game.”

Shrewsberry understood Funk’s misplaced blame following Penn State’s battle with the Badgers and shared a moment with his player following Funk’s masterclass against Nebraska and simply asked “Wawa or Sheetz?”

Funk questioned his coach and instead asked about the team’s defense, but Shrewsberry was adamant they were going to discuss Pennsylvania’s superior gas station.

“I was like, ‘who cares man?’ Wawa or Sheetz? Let’s get down to the real nitty gritty,” Shrewsberry said.

While Shrewsberry didn’t ultimately provide Funk’s favored gas station chain, it was clear that he was proud of the captain’s ability to rebound with confidence after a challenging game when the shots just weren’t connecting.

“For him to bounce back and respond like this, I’m proud of him,” said Shrewsberry. “That’s what seniors do, and he played 36 big minutes for us… He’s a confident kid. Even when he misses a couple, he can come back and make those dagger threes for you.”

The Penn State faithful showed up and showed out for the team’s showcase on Saturday and garnered a season-high attendance record with 11,297 fans at the Bryce Jordan Center for the 2:15 p.m. weekend tip.

“It’s home cooking, I guess,” Funk said. “I thought the crowd today was great, and they definitely keep me going and give us energy.”

Fans piled into the BJC and even breached the upper bowl, which hasn’t been accessible all season. The attendance total on Saturday beat the previous season-high against Indiana by approximately 2,795 fans and demonstrated the success of Shrewsberry’s rally cry for support in December.

“[The fans] turn our 4-0 or 6-0 runs into 8-0, 10-0 runs,” Funk said. “It gives me a lot of energy and a lot of confidence — and definitely home cooking going on in the BJC, so it’s been good so far.”

Penn State will hit the road to face No. 23 Rutgers on Tuesday, January 24, before returning home to contest Michigan on January 29.

“We got to hold serve at home and then try and go steal some on the road,” Shrewsberry said. “The way [Funk] played I thought was huge. He spurred us to a huge win.”

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a senior from Richmond, Virginia, majoring in journalism. She's an associate editor and talks about awesome stuff on our podcast, Podward State, too. You can usually find her on a porch, but if not, feel free to contact Keeley on Twitter @keeleylammm or [email protected].

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