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CJ Bruton named Adelaide 36ers Head Coach

The Adelaide 36ers have announced that CJ Bruton has been appointed Head Coach on a three-year deal.

Bruton, 45, is one of the National Basketball League’s all-time greats after an illustrious 516 game career from 1994 to 2014.

Adelaide 36ers Chairman Grant Kelley welcomed CJ Bruton to the club.

“We are delighted to welcome CJ, Jessica, and the Bruton family to 36ers Nation,” Kelley said.

“While CJ's basketball pedigree is without peer, it is his personal qualities which we believe 36ers' fans will value highly; tenacity, commitment to the cause, and the ability to blend high performance with care for the individual. 

“To Sixers’ fans: we’ve got our man. Bring on NBL 21-22, and let's once again bring glory and honour to our beloved hometown.”

Adelaide 36ers GM of Basketball Jeff Van Groningen said Bruton would bring his special qualities to the 36ers.

“CJ is a special person, a talented leader and is absolutely ready for this opportunity,” he said.

“I’ve seen first-hand the positive, winning effect he has on those around him and we have no doubt he will help us achieve great things over these next few seasons.”

As a player, Bruton averaged 14.9 points and 3.6 assists per game while shooting 40 per cent from the three-point line. A record-equaling six NBL Championships cemented Bruton’s place as one of the best to hit the court in Australia.

“I am honoured to be appointed the new Head Coach of the Adelaide 36ers,” Bruton said.

“Grant and JVG have laid out the vision for the club and I’m excited to play a lead role in moving the program forward in a successful and sustainable way. I believe the current roster packs a lot of power and once the remaining pieces are put into place, we will be able to play an exciting brand of basketball and put us in the best position to make the playoffs and target a championship.

“I believe what I will bring the 36ers franchise will go beyond just winning games. I also believe in creating and maintaining a culture that future players will be excited to be a part of. The 36ers have a deep history and the most loyal fans in the league who always show passion and love for their club. We’re ready. Let’s do this.”

Accolades that punctuated Bruton’s stunning playing career include an NBL Grand Final MVP Award in 2012, being named twice to the All-NBL First Team (2006, 2008) and All-NBL Second Team (2008), NBL Most Improved Player 1999 and the Gaze Medal in 2005 as Australian International Player of the Year.

Bruton boasts significant international experience having represented the Australian Boomers at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, Beijing in 2008, the Commonwealth Games Gold Medal-winning team in Melbourne in 2006, and the World Championships in Japan that same year. In all, Bruton represented his country with distinction on 104 occasions.

With a strong reputation as a player/coach and having displayed strong leadership skills throughout his playing career, an eventual move to coaching was inevitable.

In 2011 Bruton was appointed head coach of the Piratas de Quebradillas in the BSN season (Puerto Rico) following a playing stint there. A final series appearance was achieved and his love for coaching began. In 2014 he led the Brisbane Spartans through their SEABL (now NBL1) campaign and less than a year later he accepted a role as assistant coach with the Brisbane Bullets, while continuing as head coach of the Spartans. He guided the Spartans to a 15-9 season and their first playoff run in four years.

Bruton was named as an assistant coach with the Australian Boomers for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and helped secure a gold medal. His role as assistant coach with the Bullets continued for the next five seasons, ending with today’s announcement in Adelaide.

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