Instead of the usual parquet… 300 tons of sand. The Phoenix Footprint Center has been transformed to host one of the stages of the “AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour”. This beach volleyball tournament will allow the public of Arizona to find an old acquaintance: Chase Budinger.
The former Rockets and Wolves player played about fifteen games there at the end of the 2015/16 season (3 points and 2 rebounds on average). These were his last matches in the NBA before his now well-known conversion to the world of beach volleyball.
In addition to no longer playing basketball, the former winger, drafted in the 44th position of the 2009 Draft, has never returned to an NBA hall since. ” I’ve always been reluctant to go to a game because it feels weird to sit in the stands and not sit with my teammates close to the pitch “, justifies with the Arizona Republic the one who studied at the University of Arizona.
This Suns team, which was not very successful at the time (23 wins – 59 losses), was led by Brandon Knight, Tyson Chandler or PJ Tucker. As well as the young Devin Booker, then a rookie.
” I remember one of the first times I trained with him, when I joined the team, we were playing against each other. He was defending on me, I felt his balance and the physical dimension of his game. In fact, it shook me because I said to myself: ‘This guy is good’. And I wasn’t even talking about his offensive abilities and shooting yet “Recalls the converted, who sensed that the 19-year-old would later become one of the most effective scorers in the league.
An ancient double passion
Author of good seasons at the start of his career (average of 9 points with the Rockets), Chase Budinger will not have had the opportunity to witness the development of the back live. He had other plans for the rest of his sports career. After basketball, it would be volleyball.
When he was younger, in his Californian high school, he was indeed a star in both sports. He has also won three state volleyball titles and was named National Player of the Year by Volleyball Magazine as a “senior”. At the university level, however, he preferred to focus on basketball by joining an establishment that did not have a men’s volleyball team.
It took this 34-year-old athlete to take the time to flourish in a first discipline before returning to success with the second. A beautiful, rare course. By finding the Footprint Center, he will be in a sense at the crossroads of his two favorite sports.
With a major difference compared to its usual competitions on a natural beach: playing covered! ” For sure it will be very different from what we are used to because we will be inside and there will be no wind. The other thing to focus on is the placement of the lights, so you can see the ball coming. It’s going to be fun and challenging, so I’m super excited. »