Chase Budinger works out for Suns Print
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Thursday, 12 June 2008 12:24
NCAAB Headline News


 PHOENIX (AP) -Chase Budinger hasn't decided whether he'll turn pro or return for his junior year at Arizona.
But he keeps hearing that he might be selected in the top 20 of the NBA draft.
Asked if that would be good enough to turn pro, Budinger replied, ``In my mind, I think that's good enough, yes.''
Budinger spoke after a Thursday morning workout in front of Suns coaches and staff at US Airways Center. Budinger was among six guards and forwards at the workout, including Brigham Young guard Lee Cummard, a product of Mesa High School.
Budinger has until Monday to decide whether to withdraw from the draft, set for June 26. Because he hasn't signed with an agent, he would retain his college eligibility.
Budinger danced around questions about which way he is leaning, a subject of intense interest among Wildcats faithful. Arizona has already lost leading scorer Jerryd Bayless to the draft, and losing Budinger would be a heavy blow to the once-mighty program.
``It's stressful at times,'' Budinger said. ``It's a big decision. It's my career that I'm playing for right now. These workouts are kind of nerve-racking.''
This was Budinger's fourth workout, and he has six more scheduled, but only one before the draft deadline.
David Griffin, the Suns' vice president for basketball operations, said he senses Budinger is struggling with his decision.
``To be honest with you, I think it's up in the air, from what I understand, with his family,'' Griffin said. ``He's got a chance to be very, very good if he stays (in college), and he has a chance to be a late first-round pick if he comes. So he's got a tough choice to make.''
Budinger said Arizona coach Lute Olson has been sending him e-mails ``trying to put as much information in my head to come back. He's just trying to recruit me all over again.''
The Suns, who draft 15th, could use a shooter. That's why they seemed more than a little interested in Budinger and Joe Alexander, a 6-foot-8 junior from West Virginia who also worked out Thursday.
``If I'm a wing player and I can stroke the ball, there's probably a chance for me to play here,'' Griffin said.
Budinger shot 46.3 percent from the floor in his first two seasons at Arizona, including 37.5 percent from beyond the arc. He said he welcomed the possibility of playing with the up-tempo Suns.
``I think I would fit great here,'' Budinger said. ``I like to run up and down, like to play in the open court. I think here I'm able to use my athletic ability because Steve Nash would be the point guard. I'll be running and he'll find me in transition.''
Budinger's defense often drew criticism at Arizona, and that might make him a tough sell for new Suns coach Terry Porter, who plans to make defense a priority.
But Griffin said he doesn't believe Budinger's defense is a liability and that he'll improve as he matures.
``I know it's gotten a lot better from when I first came in, because I couldn't play a lick of defense when I first came to Arizona,'' Budinger said.
Cummard, a 6-foot-7 guard from Mesa High School, grew up an avid Suns fan. He said it was a thrill to work out in front of the team's coaches, and he got a kick out of watching former Sun Dan Majerle knock down a slew of 3-pointers after the workout.
Cummard said he's leaning toward staying in the draft but is trying to collect more information about where he might be drafted.
``I go in with the intentions of staying in the draft, and get a feel for what's out there,'' said Cummard, who also worked out for Houston and Sacramento. ``There's a lot at stake considering I have the possibility of having a great senior year. I love the college life.''
 

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