Budinger drawing big time interest

I was anxious to see Chase Budinger this past weekend. I knew the Wildcats were high on the kid, but I didn't get a chance to see him last summer as he was busy playing volleyball. Within moments of seeing him take the floor I was sold.

I had heard that Budinger was similar to former Wildcats Jud Buechler and Luke Walton, so I was expecting one thing and got another. The only thin Budinger has in common with those two former Wildcats is calling the San Diego area home.

In fact, Budinger is the opposite kind of player than those two Cats. Both Buechler and Walton used their fundamentals and feel for the game to overcome a lack of athleticism. Budinger, on the other hand, is athletic, but doesn't always seem to have the best instincts.

He's athletic and so very smooth. He has a soft shot and glides to the rim in transition. That smoothness is also a bit of a detriment as he does tend to float on the perimeter a little bit too much for my liking.

Despite a few negatives, some of the nation's best schools are looking at the 6-7 wing from La Costa Canyon High School.

"People are looking at me like Arizona, UCLA, Kansas and Stanford," Budinger said. "Those are the strong schools."

Budinger has seen a few schools, including Arizona and claims that he's pretty much open. He admits that he is just starting to explore the recruiting process more.

"It's all even right now," Budinger said. "I am still open with everything. I want to wait a little bit. I want to check out all of the schools."

Although he claims no favorites, he does claim that two programs are working just a bit harder to secure his services.

"UCLA and Arizona are probably the two strongest right now," Budinger claims.

Volleyball could play a big role in his recruitment. Budinger is one of the best prep volleyball players in the country. In this day and age of Title IX many of the schools he is considering do not have men's volleyball programs. UCLA has a great program for example, while Arizona only has a club program.

"I really haven't decided yet if I want to play both or just basketball," said Budinger. "I need to talk to my family and make a decision on that. I'll probably wait until after the summer to make decision on that."

He may skip the shoe camps to play in some big time volleyball tournaments and does not know when he will make a decision. He has no time table for a commitment and wants to take a long time to discuss things with his family. That could be tough as basketball and volleyball will keep Chase away from home for most of the summer.

He wants to take the time to visit the schools he has not been to and wants to find out more about other parts of the country.

"I'll probably explore," Budinger said of checking out other parts of the country, primarily Kansas. "I got to see it. I'll go out there and check it out a little bit. Most likely I'll stay out on the West Coast."

Budinger plays for the SoCal All-Stars, a team loaded with at least eight upper level D-I prospects. Considering all of the talent on display, it is impressive the Budinger is able to shine. He is clearly one of the more impressive players on the squad, even if he has to share the spotlight.

"It helps so much playing with good players," said Budinger. "Our high school team is not so good, then I come out and play with these guys and I fit in so well."

For now Budinger is sifting through information on programs. He's getting ready for a summer of basketball and volleyball. He'll continue to work on his game and try to improve by playing with some of the nation's best prospects. At the same time he can expect to be shadowed by Lute Olson and the Wildcat coaching staff at the summer recruiting events.

E-mail Brad at bradallis@msn.com


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