2018-12-26 10:00:00 CET

Chasing the dream with Casey

The former NBA player is excited about his new partner and is hoping to feed from his energy

Budinger had a single appearance in the Beach Major Series in 2018, finishing 17th in GstaadBudinger had a single appearance in the Beach Major Series in 2018, finishing 17th in Gstaad

Chase Budinger’s second season as a beach volleyball professional will start with a new partner by his side as the former basketball player announced Rio 2016 Olympian Casey Patterson as his new teammate heading into 2019.

After spending his first season with veteran defender Sean Rosenthal, Budinger, who played in the NBA from 2009 to 2016, saw himself in a position where he felt he was forced to make a move if he wanted to keep pursuing his most ambitious beach volleyball dream.

“Rosie didn’t know if he wanted to play internationally anymore and I want to make a run at Tokyo 2020, so that was a big part on why we split,” Budinger told beachmajorseries.com. “Casey is determined to compete in the World Tour and to try to return to the Olympics. He’s motivated and hungry.”

Rosenthal won’t be at Budinger’s side in 2019, but the lessons he learned from the two-time Olympian in the 10 months they stuck together will remain on his mind. A professor of the game, Rosie helped 30-year-old Budinger win the Rookie of the Year award in the American AVP, where he displayed promising progress over the season.

The team played in six World Tour events, having a ninth-place finish at the three-star tournament in Lucerne their best result. Domestically, Budinger and Rosenthal shared the court on eight occasions and had a gold medal match appearance in San Francisco, where they finished second.

“It was a pleasure playing with and learning from Rosie,” the former NBA player added. “He’s a hell of a player and I’m very grateful that he took his chances on me when I was an unknown with zero entry points. His feel for the game is far above most players.”

Patterson's emotional celebrations are one of his trademarksPatterson's emotional celebrations are one of his trademarks

With Patterson, who’s coming from a below-average season with Stafford Slick, Budinger will form a very physical team with both players nearing 2m-tall. The new partners have been training in California with coach Tim Jensen and are expected to debut in the four-star World Tour event in the Hague, in the first week of January.

The new tandem had a rehearsal of sorts already, as in the first weekend of December, they played together during one set at the Top Guns event in California and defeated Jeremy Casebeer and Chaim Schalk.

“I think we’ll be a really good sideout team,” Chase analyzed. “His serving and my blocking will strengths to get us some points. I’m confident we’ll mesh really well.”

If with Rosie, Budinger learned how to play the game - with Patterson he’s hoping to change the way he feels it. While the former basketball player displays a very relaxed behavior during games, his new partner is known on the Tour as one of the fieriest players on court.

So don’t get surprised if you see Budinger yelling at people at the net or letting his emotions out more frequently in 2019.

“His energy is contagious and I’m really looking forward to benefit from it,” Budinger remarked. “It will be a good mix of my relaxed temperament with his energy and I could see him getting me fired up at times, so get ready to see more of that out of me this year.”

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