Record set, Chase eyes the future

It was almost a forgone conclusion that Chase Budinger would become the San Diego Section's all-time scoring leader on Friday night. He needed just five points to break the record and a three-pointer in the first quarter gave him the mark. Now he has his eyes set firmly on the playoffs and the future.

The future Wildcat had already been mentioned with the best players to emerge from San Diego before the start of the season. When he verballed to Arizona over the summer there were representatives from area radio, television and newspapers, as well as a member of the San Diego County Hall of Champions.

Now that he is the area's all-time scoring champ, there is little doubt about his status among San Diego's best. Despite the personal achievements, Budinger is more concerned about the upcoming playoffs.

"We're the favorite, but we were also the favorite last year and we lost in the semi-finals," Budinger said. "Every game is going to be a big game from here on out and it's not going to be easy. We have to be ready for every opponent."

Budinger's record setting three pointer was assisted by Kris Corso, the brother of Nick Corso, the prior record setter. The assist was more than a bit ironic, it was planned.

"The whole week we were trying to set up a play so that he could get me the ball to set the record," Budinger admitted. "We were trying to get him the ball so he could find me."

Even before Budinger's pursuit of the record, he and his teammates were the team everyone in the area was gunning for. They were the best team and he was the best player.

"Every game, there is always a bullseye on my back and our backs," Budinger said. "We get everyone's best effort. All of these teams want to take us down, but we try to turn it around on them. We try to come out and play hard and take them down. We try to turn it around and use it as motivation to come out and be aggressive early on."

Budinger has been busy with his senior season, but has had time to keep an eye on his future teammates. He says that he's watched more than half of the Wildcats' games. Although they have had their share of struggles this season, Budinger is optimistic about where the Wildcats are headed.

"They are such an athletic team, but they've been struggling at the finish of games," Budinger analyzed. "They can still be a good team because they have a lot of talent."

He admitted that it can be tough because Budinger has seen some situations where he wishes he was on the floor to try and help out.

"There are some situations where I think I could help them," Budinger said. "It makes me next year and how I will fit in with the team.

Budinger continues the tradition of Wildcat players from San Diego, but he won't be the only player from the area on the squad. In 2007 wing Jamelle Horne will also join the fold.

"I know Jamelle pretty well," Budinger said. "We played in a couple of tournaments together. I respect him. He is very athletic and he is a hard working guy. He is fun to play with."

With the scoring record Budinger can now look ahead to the playoffs and a chance at redemption after coming up just short a year ago.

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