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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Budinger still striving to find groove

    One by one, the trio of Arizona’s veteran juniors are discovering their rhythm.

    In the season exhibition opener, UA point guard Nic Wise broke out against Incarnate Word with 16 points and eight assists. Wise followed up Wednesday night against Sonoma State with another 16 points from a collection of aggressive drives to the basket.

    Then forward Jordan Hill made back-to-back double-doubles to open the exhibition season. He scored 23 points and 13 rebounds against Incarnate Word and followed up Wednesday with 30 points and 11 rebounds. In both instances, Hill showed the discipline to avoid foul trouble and eliminate traveling violations.

    But with four days remaining before the regular season begins, forward Chase Budinger, dubbed the team’s captain, has yet to find his stride.

    “”Just one of those things,”” Budinger said. “”Sorta slumps you could say. I know I’ll be ready when the next game comes.””

    Following a 2-for-10 performance from the field in the Wildcats’ exhibition opener, Budinger went just 3-for-9 with nine points and three rebounds Wednesday night.

    However, the early struggles aren’t something UA interim head coach Russ Pennell worries about.

    “”Chase Budinger is a valuable player, even when he doesn’t score,”” Pennell said. “”Do we need him to score? Absolutely. But he’s a great facilitator with the basketball; he’s a steady hand in handling it.””

    At the beginning of this season, Pennell estimated that Budinger should attempt about 40 percent of the team’s shots throughout the year.

    In the two exhibition games, Budinger attempted 15 and 17 percent of the team’s total, respectively.

    However, Pennell did cite improved defensive play from Budinger over the course of the preseason, along with better rebounding.

    Pennell added that foul trouble during both exhibition games may have kept Budinger from developing an offensive flow.

    “”Forget about it – flush it and let’s move on,”” Pennell told Budinger after Arizona’s 78-54 win over Sonoma State. “”I don’t want him to get so hung up in the scoring side of it that he gets all bent out of shape and doesn’t do the other things, because he will score.

    “”He’s going to score,”” Pennell said. “”He’s still figuring out ways to get the ball.””

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