Budinger trying to get right

It doesn't take a basketball expert to see that Chase Budinger is not the same player he was a month ago. He went from one of the hot names in all of college basketball to a player who is finding his way.

Budinger burst on the scene in his very first game. He scored 17 in the season opening loss to Virginia and then eclipsed 30 in the next game against NAU. Through the Cats' 12-1 start he failed to score in double digits just once, a five-point outing against hometown San Diego State.

Since the Washington game he has been held under 10 points twice and his averaging just a hair over 10 points a game. Over the last five games, where the Cats are just 1-4, Budinger has hit just 4-of-16 three-point shots.

It is not that Budinger is playing poorly, he just isn't playing at the high level we saw over the first 13 games. Coincidentally, as Budinger has struggled so have the Cats. (Though it must be noted almost the entire team has struggled over the last five games)

In a recent post game analysis, Wildcat radio color commentator Ryan Hansen speculated that several Wildcats, including Budinger, were becoming predictable in their offensive decision making. Budinger agreed to that analysis, at least in part.

"During Pac-10 of course teams are going to be more prepared to play us," Budinger said, noting that now there is far more video of his game and better scouting reports.

He also feels that the best way to avoid being predictable is to be more aggressive.

"I really need to start, on the offensive side, start attacking the basket," Budinger said. "I think I am settling for jump shots too much."

Not only does he need to be more aggressive, he needs to mix things up and try out some new aspects of his game.

"It is something when teams know how to play you, you can't let that affect you," Budinger said. "You just have to go out in the game and try different things."

Most observers, whether they be fans or the media, have speculated that Budinger is tired. Between logging 30+ minutes a game, adjusting to the rigors of the college game and dealing with a preseason illness, no one would be shocked to learn that Chase is getting a tad tired. While some have tried to downplay the fatigue factor, Budinger feels it is legitimate to an extent.

"I think fatigue has kind of set in," Budinger admitted. "It is the middle of the season right now, guys legs are not really under them. I can say that for myself."

As for the team's recent struggles, Budinger feels that they are all fixable. He feels the shooting will improve, and the effort level is getting back to where it needs to be. In fact he doesn't sound worried at all.

"The past is the past and you have to come into the next game thinking it is a new season," the freshman said. "I think we are still the same team who won 12 in a row."

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