Ex-Pacer player Chase Budinger in AVP Pro Beach Volleyball championship

INDIANAPOLIS — Former Indiana Pacers player Chase Budinger will step inside an NBA arena again Friday. But not to play basketball. He will be there playing beach volleyball, a sport he has conquered in a way he never did the professional world of hardwood and hoops.

Since returning from the NBA, Budinger has become one of the top competitors in the pro beach volleyball circuit, a sport he went back to from his days growing up in California after leaving an eight-year basketball career.

On Friday, along with partner Troy Field, Budinger will play in the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball championship at the Phoenix Suns’ Footprint Center in the inaugural AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) Phoenix Championships, which will run through Saturday.

Chase Budinger and his partner Troy Field give each other a low-five during an AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour match.

Sand will be shipped into the arena’s floor for the season-ending single-elimination tournament. There will be six teams in each of the men’s and women’s brackets to crown the best pairs of the 2022 season. There’s a $15,000 purse for the winning team and $10,000 for the runner-up.

Before climbing the ranks of pro beach volleyball, Budinger played one season for the Pacers (2015-16), playing 49 games, averaging 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. He played seven years with Houston, Minnesota and Phoenix.

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