San Diego, CA, United States (AHN Sports) – Houston Rockets forward Chase Budinger, the national high school volleyball player of the year in 2006, is taking up pro volleyball while the NBA remains in lockout.
“If I don’t go play in Europe, (volleyball) is definitely what I’ll be doing. I love volleyball, Budinger told USA Today. “It’s great cross training for my basketball. It’s great competition as well. … This gives me a chance during the lockout to go do something that I love as well.
The 6-7 Budinger will play in the Corona Light Wide Open tournament in Hermosa Beach, CA with partner Dane Jensen.
“(Jensen) is a local player down in San Diego. He’s a very very good player, so I think we can do pretty well. We’re going to be very competitive. We both can play. The main thing is just getting used to playing with each other, trying to get that feel for each other. All the other teams have been playing a couple tournaments, so this will be our first one now.”
Budinger, whose brother also plays pro volleyball, was playing under an NBA contract that forbade him to play another professional sport.
“You can’t play another professional sport, I think. Before, the last two years, I have always played for fun on the beach, with my brother and some other guys. Never in an actual tournament, though, because I wasn’t allowed to. Because of the lockout, I’m actually allowed to play in some tournaments.”
Budinger, 23, was selected 44th overall out of Arizona and has averaged 9.4 points and 3.6 rebounds in 22 minutes per game. He has only missed 12 games over the past two seasons, starting in 26 of them.
The Carlsbad, CA native is staying in basketball shape with some fellow locked out players during the break.
“I’ve been working out every day, getting in the weight room, lifting, working on my skills basketball-wise and playing pickup with the guys last week. There’s Mo Williams, Deron Williams , Richard Jefferson , so we got a nice crew we can play pickup with to stay in shape and keep playing basketball.”