On Wednesday, 2006 superstar Chase Budinger will make a public commitment to Arizona, UCLA or USC. What people don't realize is the significance of the 6-foot-8 forward to whatever program he ends up at.
Budinger going to UCLA would swing the balance of power in the Pac-10 – period. He is so talented that combined with juniors Jordan Farmar, Arron Afflalo and Josh Shipp, UCLA would be a serious contender to win the 2006-07 national championship and a virtual lock to win the Pac-10 that season.
If Budinger would go to USC, the Trojans would have an outstanding squad with him, Gabe Pruitt, Nick Young and Lodrick Stewart all on the same team.
With Budinger at Arizona, the Wildcats remain the class of the Pac-10. For the sake of the same argument we used with UCLA and USC, if everyone were to stay in school at Arizona, the Wildcats would have a team with Budinger, Jawann McClellan, Mustafa Shakur, Marcus Williams, Ivan Radenovic, Kirk Walters and Jesus Verdejo, among others.
A player that makes everyone around him significantly better, Budinger is a must-get recruit. He's been Lute Olson's priority for years and the UA head coach and his assistants have outworked everyone to get Budinger to Tucson.
The reality of the situation is that Arizona cannot afford to have Budinger commit to UCLA and USC. The Wildcats have been on top in the Pac-10 for over two decades now, but losing a recruit like Budinger to emerging programs like the two in Southern California would be devastating.
There really isn't anything that Budinger can't do on the court. He's a great shooter, an amazing passer and can handle the ball like a point guard. With coaching, he's going to eventually be a very good rebounder and defender, although he still has work to do in each area.
The scary thing is that Budinger hasn't even had a significant amount of coaching in his life. He's balanced basketball with volleyball up until now and his potential just hasn't been tapped.
At 1:30PM on Wednesday, Budinger will announce a decision that could change the Pac-10 for years. If things go right for Arizona, the UA will get a player that should help the program win its second national championship.
Chase Budinger is that good.
* Check out GOAZCATS.com around 1:30PM MST, as we'll have exclusive coverage from Chase Budinger's press conference.