2018-04-28 12:00:00 CEST

Time to Chase the best

Former NBA player Chase Budinger will make his beach volleyball World Tour debut next week in Huntington Beach

Sean Rosenthal and Chase Budinger (right, in pink) are ready for their World Tour debutSean Rosenthal and Chase Budinger (right, in pink) are ready for their World Tour debut

Chase Budinger spent the last eight years of his life facing most of the best basketball players in the world as he enjoyed a successful career in the American NBA.

However, the polyvalent athlete decided to move his office to the sand a few months ago and now it’s time to leave the LeBron James, Kevin Durants and James Hardens of the world behind and start measuring himself against Alison Cerutti, Phil Dalhausser, Paolo Nicolai and the many other stars of the beach volleyball World Tour.

Budinger, 29, and his partner, the two-time Olympian Sean Rosenthal, are entered to compete in the four-star tournament in Huntington Beach, California, from May 2-6. More than that, the duo is guaranteed in the main draw, providing Budinger the unique opportunity of facing some of the best players in the world on his very first World Tour tournament.

“I am very excited about my world Tour debut,” Budinger told us. “We have been working hard and training well. It’s going to be exciting playing against the best teams right off the bat. I will have lots of nerves and excitement going in, but I hope those feelings will elevate my playing ability. Having a partner like Sean, who knows every player on the World Tour, I will rely a lot on him for our preparation for teams.”

It will be the first time Budinger and Rosenthal can play against the top international teams, but they have been facing some of the best American duos regularly in the sands of Hermosa Beach, where them and most of their national counterparts practice.

Budinger (spiking, left) and Rosenthal in a training session with Theo Brunner in Hermosa BeachBudinger (spiking, left) and Rosenthal in a training session with Theo Brunner in Hermosa Beach

The level the new team showed against the World Tour regulars boosted the former basketball player’s confidence.

“It is awesome living in Hermosa Beach because it’s easier training against the best beach teams out there,” Chase says. “We switch it up every week with who we play, but we have practiced with Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb as well as John Hyden and Theo Brunner, among others. I feel we have held our own against every team we have practiced with.”

Budinger and Rosenthal have also played in a couple of tournaments of AVPNext, the American AVP’s developmental programs, and they won both. They are still uncertain at what their real leve against the top teams in the world is right now, but there’s no better way to find out than playing, right?

That's a wrap on AVP Next tournaments! Fun to have friends and family out to support- thanks @clintc0e and @seanrosenthal for helping me get a few points 😜! Next up/ HUNTINGTON! #avp #fivb

550 Likes, 21 Comments - Chase Budinger (@budinger10) on Instagram: "That's a wrap on AVP Next tournaments! Fun to have friends and family out to support- thanks..."

For the 2.01m-tall blocker, the last months were of hard work and adjustments, so now it’s time to test all of it.

“I think a good result would be amazing for our first tournament,” Budinger added. “There is going to be a lot of learning for me on the fly so I really have to be able to be focused in throughout competition.”

“I feel more comfortable now than when I first started training. My conditioning on the sand is much better and that was what I needed most. I think I am where I thought I would be at. It is tough knowing without competing and that’s why I am so excited to get out there and play!”

So are we, Chase! Good luck!

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