A Look Ahead: Chase Budinger

Last season Chase Budinger had a very nice freshman season, but it did not end the way he wanted. Despite winning numerous accolades, Budinger admitted after the season he was not completely happy with the season. We take a look at what next season could and probably will happen for the Wildcat wing.

Last Year: At the beginning of the year Chase Budinger was one of the top freshmen in the nation. His 17 points in his collegiate debut and 32 points against NAU had the entire nation taking notice. He soon became the Wildcats anointed go-to-guy and responded. By mid-season he had sort of leveled off (as did the entire team), but was still one of the Wildcats most consistent offensive performers. He was second on the team in scoring and earned Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors.

Some Numbers: 15.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg
Games over 20 points: 6 (two over 30)
Games under 10 points: 5
Double-doubles: 5

Needs To Improve: The main improvement Budinger needs is toughness, of course that could be said about the entire team. Budinger needs t be able to exert himself more often on both ends of the floor.

Improved lateral quickness would also serve the athletic wing on both ends. He is incredibly explosive north/south and vertically, but his lateral movement was not on par with those other two skills a year ago. This was mainly a factor on the defensive end.

As good a scorer as he was, he could actually be better if he adds a few more moves to his offensive repertoire. The second time around the Pac-10 he had a little trouble creating his own shot.

Best Case Scenario: Budinger contends for national player of the year honors. Chase is so skilled and is apparently putting in the work this off-season. A few tweaks to his game and he could be the next Wildcat All-American.

Worst Case Scenario: Budinger rests on his laurels, fails to significantly improve and has his eyes on the NBA.

Most Likely Scenario: The good news about Budinger is that he seems more likely to maximize his upside. I expect Budinger to be an improved, more confident player and contend for All-Conference and Pac-10 Player-of-the-Year honors. There is no reason he should not be improved in year-two. He has the drive and talent to take his game to the next level.

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