Budinger making changes

Even the most die hard Wildcat fans knew that Chase Budinger couldn't keep up the torrid scoring pace that he showed early in the season. It isn't that he lacked the talent, but it is tough for a freshman not to hit the wall. Budinger did hit the proverbial wall, but he seems to have found the secret to getting past it.

The fantastic freshman scored in double figures in 12 of his first 13 games and looked like was ready to set the world on fire.

When the Wildcats started to struggle, so did Budinger. He was never terrible, but he was held to 10 points or less four times over the next 10 games. The Wildcats lost three of those four games.

At the time Budinger admitted he was tired, but has since overcome his fatigue.

In the last three games he has averaged 20.7 points and has arguably been the Wildcats best player.

So what was Budinger's solution? Rest. It actually seems so simple now, but it was simply Budinger learning to take it easy whenever he had a chance.

"I have been sleeping more," Budinger admits. "Every chance I get I try to take a nap and just get off my feet. That was the biggest thing. That bad stretch I kind of had was due mostly to my legs. My legs were tired. Right now I am trying to take care of my body the best I can."

Rest and relaxation is not the only thing he has changed. At the advice of Trent Suzuki, his personal trainer back in California, Budinger began getting a little more extra work in.

"I needed to start getting get into the gym at nights and start shooting again," Budinger said. "I am a shooter, I have to get shots up."

Budinger, usually accompanied by a trainer or two, heads to the gym nearly every night for some extra shooting time. He does not spend a long time, just a half an hour or so, taking jump shots and keeping confident.

"Just to get my rhythm back," Budinger said of the intent of the nightly shooting practice. "I think it has helped me a lot, to get my rhythm back, to get my confidence back." The final element to his improvement is his diet. Like many first year students, Budinger fell into the trap of eating whatever was available, taking little account of what he was putting into his body.

Not anymore.

"I try to eat healthier," Budinger said. "I try not to eat junk food."

Spending so much time on campus, Budinger had to learn to make the right food choices. Instead of grabbing burgers or bags of chips, Chase has had to find healthy sandwiches and other balanced foods.

In the end three small changes have made a huge difference for the freshman small forward. In a year where he has averaged 15.8 points and 5.8 rebounds, Budinger has had a few down moments, but hopefully for Wildcat fans a few small changes can limit these down moments as the Cats head into March.

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