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Chase Budinger visits the Bulls for a pre-draft workout

As a 6-foot-7 junior at Arizona, Chase Budinger posted averages of 18.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. He finished his collegiate career with 1,697 points, a figure that ranks 11th on the Wildcats’ career scoring list.

Budinger hopes his size leads to the chase

Chase Budinger "I just try to play my game," Budinger said of the pre-draft workouts. "I try not to do too much while showing a little bit of everything, whether it’s taking it to the hole, making pull up jumpers, or hitting from long-range." (Adam Fluck/Chicago Bulls)

Chase Budinger didn’t get to accomplish what he wanted on his first trip to the Berto Center, hampered by a sprained ankle and unable to take the floor. On Monday, however, the two-time AP honorable mention All-American was at full strength and matched up with Duke’s Gerald Henderson along with several other players as the Bulls continued with their pre-draft workouts.

Projected as a mid-first round selection, Budinger (6-7/215) was the co-MVP of the 2006 McDonald's High School All-American Game with Kevin Durant. He attended Arizona for three years and averaged 17.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game in 100 career appearances, all starts. Budinger also garnered 2007 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors.

Chase Budinger "A lot of my athletic and jumping ability came from playing volleyball," said Budinger. "It helped my vision too because there is so much peripheral vision involved with volleyball."
(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Bulls.com: How did you feel your workout went?

Chase Budinger: I thought it went well. The workout itself was very up-tempo, moving from one drill to the next pretty quickly. I got a lot out of it and played against some pretty good guys.

Bulls.com: At times you were going head-to-head against Gerald Henderson. What was it like to compete with an athlete of his caliber?

Budinger: It’s fun going against someone like him. He’s very athletic and very strong, and he moves very low to the ground. It’s a challenge going against someone like that.

Bulls.com: Is there anything you’re trying to focus on during these workouts to showcase your strengths?

Budinger: No, I just try to play my game. I try not to do too much while showing a little bit of everything, whether it’s taking it to the hole, making pull up jumpers, or hitting from long-range.

Bulls.com: What do you know about the current Bulls team and how would you fit in?

Budinger: I’ve been living in Chicago the last month and a half, so I was able to get to some of the playoff games and watch them in person. They’re a young but very talented team and they play an up-tempo style. Playing alongside Derrick Rose would be great, because you know you’ll get open jumpers. I think I’d fit in very well here. The styles fit perfectly and it’s a great city as well.

Bulls.com: What are your thoughts on Head Coach Vinny Del Negro now that you’ve interacted with him?

Budinger: I think he’s a very smart coach and someone you have to respect. He’s got a very intelligent basketball mind; that’s the impression I got from him.

Bulls.com: This was your second visit with the Bulls, although you didn’t get to play in the first. What happened?

Budinger: The first time I came in with a sprained ankle. The coaching staff was giving me a little bit of a guilt trip to try and get me to work out, so I finally broke down and said I was ready to go. I went into the training room and asked them to tape me up, but the trainers told me I couldn’t go with my ankle.

Bulls.com: Is that sort of a chip on your shoulder, the knock on your toughness, as you go through these pre-draft workouts?

Budinger: Yeah, there’s always that label on me. So as soon as they started with the guilt trip, I wasn’t about to show them that I was the least bit soft or I didn’t want to work out. I was ready to work out and show them I’m tougher than people think.

Bulls.com: How has it been training with Tim Grover?

Budinger: It’s been good for me. We’ve been doing two-a-days including lifting, and it’s a good workout schedule we’ve got in place. I’m working on a lot of little things and other guys like Jonny Flynn, Jordan Hill and Paul Harris and other guys are there working out too.

Bulls.com: Did testing the draft waters last summer help prepare you for this year?

Budinger: I think so. Knowing what to expect in the workouts and knowing what I needed to work on has helped me during these workouts.

Bulls.com: Do you feel your size will be an advantage in the NBA as you guard two guards that might be smaller and possibly quicker?

Budinger: Definitely. My size should be an advantage against the smaller guys and I think I’ve shown that in these workouts as there isn’t any help side defense. There are no big guys, like Jordan Hill, behind you to help out. It makes these workouts tough, but playing in a five-on-five setting, I think my size will bother some of the smaller guards.

Bulls.com: You were labeled a world-class volleyball prospect at La Costa Canyon HS north of San Diego. How has that helped you as a basketball player?

Budinger: I haven’t played much volleyball in the past few years, but I think it has helped me in my career. A lot of my athletic and jumping ability came from playing volleyball. It helped my vision too because there is so much peripheral vision involved with volleyball. Those few things from volleyball have definitely carried over to basketball for me.

Bulls Director of College Scouting Matt Lloyd
on Chase Budinger and Gerald Henderson:

“It was a really good workout and the opportunity to have two high-level prospects in was fantastic. Gerald definitely has positional size in the NBA. He’s got that great athleticism component that will allow him to matchup well with anyone at his position. Chase’s shooting and his size are really attractive commodities right now, based on the direction the league is moving. He’d fit in well along a high-level point guard like Derrick Rose who is able to space the floor. Both of these players will be in the mix and we had a good time bringing them in here. These guys are really high-level kids, too; both from winning programs. Those types of components transfer to the NBA as well.”