Budinger verbals to Arizona!

Although it seemed to be a done deal for weeks, Chase Budinger made it official. The elite wing announced on Wednesday at a press conference that he was indeed committing to the Wildcats.

"Me and my family have pondered this decision for a long time," Budinger said. "For the last couple months, there was excitement, anticipation and concern, but in the end there was one school that offered me the best opportunities. In the fall of 2006, I will attend the University of Arizona."

Budinger, the No. 4 rated small forward in the class, chose the Cats over USC and UCLA. In the end he just felt the Wildcats were the team for him.

"I chose the University of Arizona for many reasons," Budinger said. "Arizona has a great undergrad program and the basketball team is always in the top 25. Coach Lute Olson is the best coach in the country."

For weeks various recruiting analysts felt the Wildcats were in the driver's seat and it turned out they were right.

"When I went to that Elite Camp (in Tucson in July) I was 100 percent sure. The environment was great," Budinger said. "I always had a feeling toward Arizona. I didn't tell anybody that, but since I was a little kid I loved Arizona. The last couple months is where I really felt good about Arizona." The 6-6 Budinger is an athletic small forward who can attack the basket and drain the outside shot. He is a great finisher on the break and with his length could develop into a terrific defender. He was a priority recruit for the Wildcats and Olson made his interest apparent over the summer as he was at just about every game Budinger played in.

Budinger is one of the top volleyball prospects in the country, but will give up the sport at Arizona. The Wildcats do not have varsity volleyball and Budinger has said previously that he did not want to play the sport at the club level.

He is the third verbal commitment for the Wildcats, joining PG Nic Wise and PF Jordan Hill. The Wildcats will now turn their attention to a big man, Lance Thomas and Alex Stepheson are the most likely candidates if the Wildcats offer a fourth scholarship.

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