PHOENIX – The Phoenix Suns expanded their roster with two players with strong connections to the state of Arizona – former University of Arizona forward Chase Budinger and former Phoenix high school star Alan Williams.
Budinger was averaging a career-low 4.4 points per game when he was waived by the Indiana Pacers on Sunday. The 6-foot-7-inch Budinger has posted career numbers of 8.1 points per game and 3.1 rebounds per game playing for 3 different teams. The Suns signed him for the remainder of the season.
In the middle of his seventh NBA campaign, Budinger is confident his experience will help his new teammates.
“I’m going to try and show my value as a player, try to create the chemistry with the guys especially the young guys,” Budinger said.
“I’m coming in as an older veteran than most the guys on the team, so try to show my knowledge to the young guys.”
Budinger ranks 11th on UA’s all-time scoring list. The school inducted him into its Ring of Honor in 2011. He said he had always hoped to return to the desert to play.
“I’ve always said in my career that this is a place I would always love to come play. I went to the U of A and love the Phoenix area, love the time I was down at the U of A, and am very familiar with Phoenix, and the fans. This a great opportunity for me,” Budinger said.
As for Williams, the 6-foot-8-inch center/forward remembers when he was playing only a couple miles away from the Suns arena at North High School, dreaming of one day playing for his hometown team.
“Its surreal. It’s a true blessing and it’s a testament to everybody that’s helped me get to this point right here,” said Williams, who signed a 10-day contract with the Suns.
“I’m just hoping I can make the most out of the 10 days. I hear they go by pretty quickly. I’m just going to soak it all in take as much of it as I can, and really enjoy being from Phoenix, and being able to put on the Phoenix Suns Jersey.”
Williams, who most recently played for the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles of the Chinese Basketball Association, can’t imagine a better way to enter the NBA.
“I can’t think of another way to break into the league, of any other way to do it here in front of my hometown team, in front of tons of family, and friends,” Williams said. “Just to be able to represent this organization I’ve grown so fond of in my 23 years of living. Being from Phoenix and watching the older team play, and now this team play, to be able to be a part of that history is something I’m really fortunate and blessed to be able to do, said Williams.”
Watson said both Williams and Budinger fit the mold of what he is hoping to create with the Suns.
“I think for one they are character guys, we talked about building the right family, and the right program. Character is the number one priority, so two character guys with unique talents.”
The Suns host the New York Knicks Wednesday night. Budinger will wear No. 10, and Williams No. 15.