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Budinger Declares for NBA Draft
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 04/08/2008
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TUCSON, Ariz. - University of Arizona men's basketball player Chase Budinger has decided to make himself eligible for the 2008 NBA Draft. Budinger is leaving open the possibility of returning to the Wildcats for his junior season.

Budinger, a 6-foot-7, 208-pound sophomore forward from Encinitas, Calif., earned second-team all-District 15 honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches and third-team all-Pacific-10 Conference kudos after averaging 17.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game in 34 appearances this season. Budinger shot 44.6 percent (204-of-457) from the field and led the team with 73 three-point field goals (.380 percentage) and 1,200 minutes played. He posted a team-leading 29 double-figure scoring games in 2007-08 and registered one double-double.

He posted season bests in nearly every statistical category as a sophomore, including field goals (204), field goal attempts (457), three-point field goals, three-point field goal attempts (192), free throws (102), free throw attempts (142), rebounds (184), assists (99), steals (38), points scored (583) and scoring average.

"It's always been my goal to play in the NBA," said Budinger, "and I feel like I need to take the next step to be able to do that. This is a good time for me to get some feedback on my game."

In two seasons at Arizona, Budinger averaged 16.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 65 career games (all starts). He connected in 46.3 percent of his field goal attempts in those two seasons, including 37.5 percent from three-point range. Budinger became the 42nd player in Arizona history to score 1,000 career points on March 6, and was just the sixth sophomore to accomplish the feat.

"Obviously, we hope that he's going to return," said Arizona head coach Lute Olson. "I'm happy that he is going through the evaluation process. That way he will be able to come back if he decides that it's the best thing for him. Chase is a very intelligent person and I know he just wants continue to improve as a player."

Budinger will complete his coursework through the spring semester. He has until June 19 to withdraw his name from the draft eligible list and, by not signing with an agent and maintaining his coursework, he could return to college without losing eligibility.

He joins a list of 11 other Wildcats to declare early for the NBA Draft during the Lute Olson era: Brian Williams (1991), Mike Bibby (1998), Gilbert Arenas (2001), Jason Gardner (2001), Richard Jefferson (2001), Michael Wright (2001), Andre Iguodala (2004), Chris Rodgers (2005), Mustafa Shakur (2006), Marcus Williams (2007) and Jerryd Bayless (2008). Of that list, only Gardner, Rodgers and Shakur returned to school and completed their eligibility.

The 2008 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 26, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

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