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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Will Budinger and Bayless live up to the hype?


    Killer Bs worth the hype

    The past two years, the Arizona men’s basketball team featured a returning stud and a hot-shot freshman, with senior guard Hassan Adams and freshman forward Marcus Williams in 2005-2006 and the sophomore Williams and freshman forward Chase Budinger in 2006-2007.

    That trend will continue during the 2007-2008 year, with Budinger returning for a sophomore season in which he will be joined by top-10 freshman guard Jerryd Bayless.

    As the Killer Bs, Budinger and Bayless will hit the court with higher expectations than previous Wildcat duos, however, with Budinger being named a preseason first-team All-American and Bayless a second-team All-Freshman performer by

    The thing about this duo, though, is that they will live up to all the hype.

    Budinger earned Pacific 10 Conference Freshman of the Year honors last season against a crowded field of conference freshmen. He averaged 15.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while displaying a silky smooth jump shot and out-of-the-gym athleticism.

    At times Budinger deferred to his more experienced teammates, such as Williams and seniors Ivan Radenovic and Mustafa Shakur, but he more than flashed his potential with a 30-point outburst in a Feb. 10 upset at Oregon. At the end of last season, Budinger spoke about how this year’s Wildcats will be his team, so expect more moments like the Oregon game and less deferring to teammates.

    That’s not to mention the summer of grueling strength and conditioning Budinger has put in with acclaimed trainer Trent Suzuki, designed to make him better in defense, strength and stamina, his weak areas last season.

    Bayless experienced no such problems deferring to teammates last year as a senior at Phoenix St. Mary’s High School, averaging 33.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.0 steals on his way to becoming a McDonald’s All-American, a two-time Gatorade state player of the year and a four-time first-team all-state performer. He also carried his team to the state championship game for the second time in three years without much help.

    With Bayless’ competitiveness and scoring punch, he will add the offense missing from the guard spot last year and provide the perfect complement to Budinger, leading both players to live up to their considerable hype.

    – Michael Schwartz, assistant sports editor


    Too many unanswered questions right now

    Get used to the names Budinger and Bayless. Call them the Killer B’s. You’ll be hearing about them for a long time to come.

    That sophomore Chase Budinger and newcomer Jerryd Bayless will be great players and lead the men’s basketball team is not in question. The concern is how well the two preseason All-Americans and future top-10 NBA draft picks will play together on the court. There just may be too much stardom together.

    Is that even possible? When you have your Pacific 10 Conference Freshman of the Year returning to join the No. 3 guard in the nation, what could go wrong?


    Coming off a season in which he averaged 15.6 points per game – seventh in the conference and second on the team behind Marcus Williams – Budinger is an offensive player more than a defensive one. Or at least he was last season.

    Bayless averaged more than 33 points per game in his senior year at St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix. It’s tough to foresee who the dominant scorer in the relationship will be this season.

    Though it is nails on a chalkboard for Wildcat Nation to hear it, sophomore slumps happen. They just do. Of the seven returning upperclassmen, four saw a decrease in their shooting percentage from their freshman to their sophomore years. Shooting a hot .485 from the floor in 2006-2007, Budinger will be hard-pressed to do better this season. I wouldn’t put it above him, but it won’t be easy.

    That he spent all summer training for this season in California doesn’t make for a perfect sophomore campaign. It just improves the chances. Should Budinger have a glitch in his game, it will be up to Bayless to carry the team. If anyone can do it, it’s Bayless, a hardworking point guard who emulates Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.

    To say that hype over the Killer B’s isn’t legitimate would be absolutely moronic. But to ask how much of that hype will transition into results on the court isn’t out of the realm of reality, either.

    It’s just too early to tell right now.

    – Lance Madden, assistant sports editor

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