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Monday, November 26, 2007

UA’s Budinger shows versatility

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Hawks survive OT scare, 76-72

Amidst all the Border Showdown hype, the Kansas basketball team was at home tonight with the always dangerous Arizona Wildcats.

Audio clips

2007-08 Nov. 25 KU-Arizona Basketball

He glides effortlessly into the lane with the basketball, looking to dish to an open man.

His quick release allows him to pull up for 3 over anybody on the fast break.

And teammates and opposing players constantly must be aware of his movements as he curls around screens at a dizzying pace to get open.

Sound like the play of an active, fleet-footed guard or a big, 6-foot-7, 200-pound forward?

For University of Arizona sophomore Chase Budinger, it's both.

During the Wildcats' 76-72 overtime loss Sunday night against No. 4 Kansas University, Budinger - as he has been all season - was called upon to make something happen in several areas. His 27 points led all scorers, and he also snagged six rebounds, swiped two steals and even defended 6-foot-1 KU guard Mario Chalmers for a time.

"It's something that I work on every year. I try to be an all-around player," Budinger said. "I just try not to be one-dimensional."

It was clear how much Budinger meant to the Wildcats (3-2) based on his limited time on the bench. In the seven minutes he wasn't on the court, Arizona made just three field goals, and the offense looked stagnant and out of sync without its go-to player. With NBA scouts in attendance - no doubt in part to see Budinger - he nailed six 3-pointers and 10 of 23 shots from the floor.

"He's huge for us because he's such a good shooter, and he can get a shot over people," center Kirk Walters said. "Regardless of who's guarding him, he's athletic enough, he can get the shot up in transition. It's a big part of our team to have someone who can run up and down the floor, be athletic and make shots."

Budinger received perhaps the ultimate compliment from the Allen Fieldhouse crowd Sunday - he made the fans squirm and groan every time he touched the ball within shooting distance in the second half as he piled up the points.

KU tried Brandon Rush on him. Then Rodrick Stewart. Then Russell Robinson. But the blonde-haired, NBA prospect had an answer for almost everything.

Almost.

With the score tied at 62, Arizona interim coach Kevin O'Neill drew up a play to get Budinger the ball for the final play of regulation. It never materialized. Budinger was double-teamed and didn't touch the ball as the Wildcats failed to score.

"We knew what we wanted to have happen, and it didn't happen, unfortunately," O'Neill said.

Said Budinger, "I had a motion in my head pre-planned, and the ball never got swung back. I really didn't see that. It was kind of my fault. I tried coming to the ball, but it was too late."

In the overtime session, Budinger nailed a 3 to tie the game at 65, but those would be his final points. When he fouled out with 28.6 seconds left in overtime and Arizona down by three, it was all but over.

O'Neill, who coached in the NBA for seven years, said he sees nothing but upside in the 19-year-old.

"He has NBA-level skill," O'Neill said. "He played hard tonight and played well. We went to him a lot, put him in situations where he needed to come up big, and he did."

Comments

jayhawkinATL 15 years ago

Budinger is a stud, no doubt about it. Had to laugh though that he wasn't "smart" enough not to get that cheap 5th foul.

John Strayer 15 years ago

Budinger was the beneficiary of several moving screens...UA's screen setters were far from stationary all night.

Regardless, Budinger was money when he got the ball.

If Budinger doesn't pick up that 5th foul, KU pretty much could have run out the clock. That wasn't Budinger's fault, if UA needed the clock stopped they should have had someone else around the ball to commit the foul.

Jeremy LeMaster 15 years ago

Budinger was smart enough, he was following his coach's direction. The coach took the blame for the miscommunication. That kid's got talent!

On a happier note, B Rush looked awesome!

JayCeph 15 years ago

Budinger was amazing. That kid had me singing his praises all night while I simultaneously cursed his very existence. Too bad he isn't wearing a Jayhawk on his uniform.

Good win... even if it was ugly.

d_prowess 15 years ago

Has anyone ever seen someone run around screens like Budinger! He would actually grab his own player to help keep his momentum when swinging around the screen (like you did as a kid when you had to run around a pole). It gave him at least one extra step on the defender.

tdub 15 years ago

Didn't know much about Budinger until last night, but you gotta like this kid now. Seems like a great player and genuine personality. Proud to say we beat UA with him at his best.

jprich 15 years ago

I was extremely impressed with Budinger last night, but I walk away from this article thinking that the sole reason Arizona lost was because Budinger fouled out. "When he fouled out with 28.6 seconds left in overtime and Arizona down by three, it was all but over." Was that really the turning point, and not KU's 8-0 run in overtime? If I'm not mistaking, didn't KU have a three point lead and the ball with about thirty seconds on the clock when he fouled out? Also, I have a problem with the author's statement, "the blonde-haired, NBA prospect had an answer for almost everything." The caveat here, as the author notes, is the final play in regulation, but where was Budinger when his team went down 8-0 on OT? We could obviously play the what-if game all day, but I'm not sold on the author's implication that KU sealed its victory when Budinger watched the final seconds from the bench; there were other factors in play. Okay, ranting complete.

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