Bad news has showered down on the Arizona Wildcats’. They are without Jerryd Bayless and for the second consecutive year a new head coach.
However, they still have one shining knight.
These are the circumstances that Arizona Wildcats F Chase Budinger is faced with. After co-captaining the Wildcats’ to a 19-15 record and an NCAA tourney berth, Budinger is the only true star left on a graduation-ravaged squad.
Primarily a catch-and-shoot player, Budinger executed against lackluster defense in the Pac-10, scoring at least 20 points twelve times in 2007-08 including four 20-5-5 performances.
Even more astonishing, Budinger victimized the two National Championship teams, Kansas and Memphis last season. Chase averaged 23.5 PPG, 6 RPG, 3.5 APG, and 1.5 SPG while shooting 47 percent FG and 56 percent from 3PT.
Obviously all career highs.
Chase though was heavily dependent on freshman mavin Jerryd Bayless who allowed Budinger to sulk during the course of the game and make heroic appearances at opportune times. Bayless also fed Budinger at precise spots on the floor and had an accurate account of his range, his likes and dislikes.
With Bayless at the helm, Chase improved his scoring average, three point percentage, and attempted more field goals and three pointers than the previous year.
In all Bayless complimented Budinger, tremendously.
Chase will also have to cope with a new coach in Russ Pennell, his second in as many years as apart of the Wildcats’.
The 6-8 versatile forward is only one of three juniors on a team that lacks leadership with only two seniors to justify their inexperience. Meanwhile they’re harboring six freshmen.
On some nights, Budinger promiscuously plays like Dirk Nowitzki. Other nights like a confused, young Mike Dunleavy.
I believe the closest player comparison to Chase is former West Virginia Mountaineer Joe Alexander, who they were defeated by in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season. Both are long, excellent shooters, who need to improve their ball-handling.
Faced with challenges, Chase still has an optimistical scope on the upcoming season, saying “I definitely think we could win the Pac-10”.
Chase Budginer leads the Arizona Wildcats as they begin their season Monday against Florida Atlantic College.