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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Budinger to test waters

    Budinger to test waters

    The Arizona men’s basketball team could be on the verge of losing another star from this year’s team after forward Chase Budinger decided to enter his name into the NBA Draft, according to his personal trainer Trent Suzuki. This comes two days after Jerryd Bayless announced he would be entering the draft.

    Budinger, who met with UA head coach Lute Olson yesterday afternoon to inform him of the decision, will not hire an agent to leave the door open for a return.

    “”If the news is good he will probably keep his name in, and if the feedback is not good he’ll come back,”” said Suzuki, who speaks with Budinger every day.

    Budinger did not return calls for comment.

    Suzuki said Bayless’ decision had no bearing on what Budinger would do, but Arizona would be in trouble without those two big producers who combined to score almost half of the Wildcats’ points this season.

    “”He wants to see where he slots in, and you don’t do that without trying,”” Suzuki said. “”If Jerryd decided to come back it would have given Chase a lot less to think about. Guys have to do what’s best for themselves in regard to their situation.””

    Budinger, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, has until June 16 to decide to pull out of the June 26 draft or go forward.

    Suzuki said Budinger will likely attend the Orlando pre-draft camp in late May to showcase his skills but added he can not do any individual workouts for teams until the first week of June, so Budinger likely will not make his final decision until close to the June 16 deadline.

    Suzuki expects Budinger to be selected somewhere between eighth pick and the low 20s if he decides to leave his name in the draft, depending on where particular teams will select in the lottery.

    All 30 first-round picks receive guaranteed contracts for two years, with the team holding options for years three and four and a right of first refusal for the next year. Second-round picks don’t always get guaranteed contracts. has Budinger being picked 16th in its mock draft, has him pegged at No. 14 and lists him as a 13th pick.

    Suzuki said if Budinger receives a promise that he would go in the lottery – the top 14 picksÿ- “”that would solidify that he would come out (of college).””

    Budinger has been lifting weights and doing some court work with assistant coaches Josh Pastner and Miles Simon to improve his game. Pastner referred comment on Budinger to Olson, who was unavailable for comment.

    Suzuki said his client needs to work on his strength, ballhandling in traffic and his midrange game but said his shooting is what’s going to separate him.

    “”I think he’ll need to continue to work on his shooting because that’s how he’s going to make a living playing basketball,””
    Suzuki said.

    Budinger averaged 17.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season in 35.3 minutes per game while shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 38.0 percent from 3-point range. He earned Pacific 10 Conference Freshman of the Year honors in his first season when he averaged 15.6 points and 5.8 boards per game and shot 48.5 percent from the field.

    At his April 1 press conference, Olson cautioned his players of the down side of entering the draft without hiring an agent just to test the waters.

    “”What I don’t want to see them do is to do like Jason Gardner did when he put his name out there, went to Chicago, had a terrible few days in Chicago,”” Olson said of that year’s pre-draft camp. “”You can only have your name out there twice, and the second time the pressure is really on. And I don’t want them to put themselves in that position. But I want them to consider that in their position.””

    Gardner (2001), Chris Rodgers (2005) and Mustafa Shakur (2006) are the only Wildcats of the 10 besides Bayless in the

    Olson era to return after originally putting their names into the draft. None of those players ended up playing a game in the NBA.

    Like Bayless, Budinger will finish off this semester so he doesn’t cost the school any scholarships. If an underclassmen leaving for the NBA does not stay academically eligible they are considered an “”0-for-2″” under the APR and could cost the school a scholarship depending on how the rest of the team’s academic numbers end up.

    “”He’s not going to cost the school, so they won’t lose any scholarships,”” Suzuki said. “”He’ll finish off the year regardless of his intentions even if he was for sure coming out.””

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