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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Budinger leaving UA early

    UA forward Chase Budinger soars toward the hoop during an 83-77 Wildcat loss to California on March 5 in McKale Center. Budinger announced yesterday that he would enter the NBA Draft.
    UA forward Chase Budinger soars toward the hoop during an 83-77 Wildcat loss to California on March 5 in McKale Center. Budinger announced yesterday that he would enter the NBA Draft.

    Chase Budinger’s two biggest goals during his junior season with the UA men’s basketball team were beating UCLA for the first time and winning his first NCAA Tournament game.

    Now that he’s done both, he is headed to the NBA Draft.

    The junior will forego his senior season at Arizona and hire an agent, he announced Tuesday. Because he tested the NBA Draft waters last season, Budinger will not be able to return to school next year.

    “”I feel I’m ready,”” Budinger said. “”It was an easy decision for me.””

    In three seasons with the Wildcats, the former McDonald’s High School All-American averaged 17 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game in 100 games – all starts. He made 46.9 percent of his field goal attempts (599-of-1,276), including 38.3 percent (190-of-496) from beyond the arc.

    He finished his career with 1,697 points, which is 11th on the school’s all-time scoring list. The forward was a two-time Associated Press honorable mention All-American, a two-time All-Pacific 10 Conference honoree and the 2007 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.

    Budinger is predicted to be picked ninth overall by NBADraft.net and 25th by DraftExpress.com.

    Junior forward Jordan Hill said Tuesday that he had already made his decision about whether he will go pro, but wouldn’t make it public. He said he’ll make an announcement later this week.

    It is expected that Hill and Budinger will hold a joint press conference to formally announce their declaration to the NBA Draft, which will be held June 24 in New York City.

    Hill is projected to be a high lottery pick in the draft. NBADraft.net has pegged him as the No. 2 overall choice, which would equal the highest pick ever to come out of Arizona with Mike Bibby, who was chosen in the same spot during the 1998 draft.

    Once Hill officially declares for the draft, he and Budinger will become the 12th and 13th Wildcats to declare early for the NBA Draft since 1984.

    Junior Nic Wise said he will at least test the NBA waters, like Budinger did last year. Wise is not projected to be an NBA Draft pick until 2010.

    If Wise returns to Arizona, he will play for his eighth coach in eight seasons.

    “”Hopefully he’ll want to finish out his senior year at Arizona, go out and start a new legacy as someone who bridged the gap between the old and new,”” said new UA head coach Sean Miller. “”I respect him a great deal. He’s been through a lot.””

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