How Chase Budinger Became a Professional Athlete…Twice.
What are the odds? Slim to none.
The odds of a senior high school athlete going on to become a professional athlete are typically less than 1% in his or her favor. Chase Budinger has beat the odds twice, now.After a three year college basketball career with the Arizona Wildcats, Budinger was drafted into the NBA during the second round of the 2009 draft. After being traded from the Detroit Pistons to the Houston Rockets on draft night, Budinger enjoyed a satisfying career in the NBA from 2009-2016 before being recruited by a Spanish team and spending a year abroad.
Budinger played for the Rockets from 2009-2012. From 2012-2017, Budinger played for the Indiana Pacers, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Timberwolves, Brooklyn Nets, and retired from his professional basketball career after a brief season with the Club Deportivo Saski-Baskonia, a professional basketball team based in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.
How did Budinger go from dribbling and shooting hoops to digging and setting?
Budinger played both sports growing up, starting his basketball training at just six years old and finding his love of volleyball several years later in middle school. After putting volleyball on the backburner to play basketball for the Arizona Wildcats, Budinger never fully gave up his volleyball game, playing every chance he got during his off-seasons.
Even as an NBA player, Chase Budinger continued to play volleyball during the off-season. Switching from the hardwood gym floors to a sandy court helped Budinger stay conditioned and keep up his cross-training while still giving his body a break. Budinger met and befriended Olympic beach volleyball player Sean Rosenthal while playing four-on-four casual matches at Hermosa Beach, CA.
From squeaky shoes to sandy feet.
After injuries and surgeries interrupted his NBA career and led him to Spain, Budinger was hesitant to continue playing basketball abroad. While fielding offers from European teams, Rosenthal called Budinger and asked him to consider being his partner on the pro volleyball circuit. After a few weeks of practice and trial runs, Budinger officially made the switch.
Budinger retired from his career as a professional basketball player in 2017 and only took a season off before debuting his professional volleyball career in May 2018 in Huntington Beach, California. While the odds of a high school athlete playing at the professional level are slim to none, Budinger made it happen twice, and he credits a supportive family and wise coaches for helping him find his footing.
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