Budinger Enjoys Impressive Summer League

July 17, 2009

LAS VEGAS – Former Arizona men’s basketball player Chase Budinger enjoyed quite a week in Las Vegas and we’re not talking about anything that can be witnessed in the recent Hollywood movie The Hangover.


No, the second-round pick from Encinitas, Calif., made a serious case for earning a roster spot with the Houston Rockets in October with his play in the 2009 Las Vegas Summer League by EA Sports.


Over five games, Budinger averaged a team-leading 17.8 points per game in just 22.2 minutes of action per contest. Furthermore, he shot an impressive of 68.1 percent from the field (32-of-47) and an even better 72.7 percent (8-of-11) from 3-point range for Houston during his time in Sin City.


Budinger’s summer league head coach, Rockets regular season assistant Elston Turner, echoed what many folks around Tucson were already well aware of.


“He has a knack for getting open,” said Turner to NBA reporters at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion. “He moves well without the basketball, and you can’t leave him. That fits our style.”


On Thursday against the Los Angeles Lakers, Budinger came off the bench to score 25 points in just 13 total possessions as the Rockets topped the regular season champs, 92-77.


With the win, the Rockets finished the league with a perfect 5-0 record, good for the proverbial 2009 championship. Strangely enough, the Rockets own the Las Vegas Summer League’s all-time best record with a mark of 17-2 over the league’s six-year history.


When asked about contract negotiations with Houston, Budinger responded optimistically.


“I’ll head home now and rest for about a week, and talk to my agent to see if he can get something worked out with the Rockets,” said Budinger to reporters in Las Vegas. “I’m hoping that can happen soon.”


Budinger isn’t the only former Cat having a good time in Las Vegas, as former All-American and reigning Summer League MVP Jerryd Bayless is posting 17.5 points, 5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game for Portland.  Additionally, recent lottery pick Jordan Hill is putting up 13.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in this guard-dominated league.


Hill’s Knicks take on the Sacramento Kings this afternoon at 3 p.m. PDT, while Bayless and the Trail Blazers play Denver later tonight at 7 p.m. PDT.  


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