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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    My First Week on Campus

    Freshman Chase Budinger is interviewed yesterday in the locker room in McKale Center.
    Freshman Chase Budinger is interviewed yesterday in the locker room in McKale Center.

    Chase Budinger, the California Athlete of the Year and a McDonald’s All-American, was the Wildcat’s guest of honor for his first week at Arizona, giving inside perspective to the freshman’s start of school. The Wildcat thanks Chase for his time and insight.

    -as told to Roman Veytsman

    It’s been a good week, just getting used to things, finding out where all my classes are, and practice has been going well.

    Everybody on the team is cool. We don’t have anyone on the team who’s a dick or anything. We’re all cool with each other, and we’re all friends.

    We have leaders. The seniors are the leaders, Mustafa (Shakur), Ivan (Radenovic), and Kirk (Walters). They’re the ones in the huddle who always talk and give pep speeches before we practice.

    (My teammates) have been wanting to hang out and chill, trying to get the chemistry down. Everybody, Fendi (Onobun), Bret (Brielmaier), Kirk, Marcus (Williams), Jawann (McClellan), all of them. They ask, “”Hey, do you want to hang out tonight or go out tonight?”” I haven’t taken them up on it yet because I’ve been busy and I have to wake up early.

    Practice has been good. It’s been tough. We’ve been running a lot, and my legs are pretty sore from the practicing and lifting and everything, but it’s been good.

    On his vertical: I haven’t checked lately, so I have no idea, but I’d say it’s around 38 or 40 (inches). I’ve always been a little athletic, but when I started playing volleyball that really helped. Once I started playing, it just started increasing dramatically.

    (I dunked for the first time) in eighth grade. (At the time) my friends were really impressed. They would go crazy every time I would dunk. (Now) after practice some people will say, “”Wow, god damn you just glide in the air.””

    On missing a free throw in practice that would have sealed the scrimmage yesterday: I was pretty pissed at myself about that. I usually don’t do that. That was the free throw to completely put it away and I missed it, and I just got really frustrated at myself about that. (Budinger’s team still won by two.)

    On Williams’ compliments of him: I take it as an honor because Marcus is a great player. It’s been tough trying to guard him in practice day in and day out. He’s been kicking my butt every day, but right now he’s just making me better, trying to give me some pointers on the court. I just take that as an honor when someone like that says something like that. He’s showing me all the little tricks, getting around screens, playing defense, all that.

    There’s been a couple of people that have come and said, “”Oh, I saw you in the newspaper.”” It’s cool. It’s been a good experience.

    I’m just a normal person. If someone wanted to come up and talk to me, they could. What happens a lot is I’ll be walking around and I’ll hear people whispering, ‘Oh, that’s Chase Budinger,’ and that kind of stuff. I always hear it, and when you hear your name you kind of tone all the other noises out. If anyone wants to come talk to me, feel free.

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