C. J. Bruton

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C. J. Bruton
Point guard / Shooting guard
Personal information
Born (1975-12-13) December 13, 1975 (age 38)
Wichita, Kansas
Nationality Australian / American
Listed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Listed weight 194 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school Wichita East (Wichita, Kansas)
College Indian Hills CC (1995–1997)
NBA draft 1997 / Round: 2 / Pick: 52nd overall
Selected by the Vancouver Grizzlies
Pro career 1994–2014
Career history
1994 Perth Wildcats
1998 Brisbane Bullets
1998–2000 Wollongong Hawks
2000–2001 Sioux Falls Skyforce
2001 Marinos de Anzoategui
2001–2003 Canberra Cannons
2003–2006 Sydney Kings
2006–2008 Brisbane Bullets
2008–2014 New Zealand Breakers
2009 Ironi Ashkelon
2010–2011 Piratas de Quebradillas
Career highlights and awards

Calvin Thomas "C. J." Bruton, Jr. (born December 13, 1975) is a former American-Australian professional basketball player who played the majority of his career in the Australian National Basketball League. Bruton moved to Australia at the age of three when his father Calvin Bruton, Sr. moved to Australia to play for the Brisbane Bullets in 1979. Bruton has played for numerous NBL teams over his career: Perth Wildcats, Brisbane Bullets, Wollongong Hawks, Canberra Cannons, Sydney Kings and New Zealand Breakers.

On October 10, 2013, Bruton was named in the Sydney Kings 25th Anniversary Team.[1]

Basketball career[edit]

Early career[edit]

In 1994, Bruton debuted for the Perth Wildcats of the Australian National Basketball League, deeming him ineligible to play in the NCAA. In 1995, he enrolled at Indian Hills Community College of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). Bruton was the starting point guard for the Warriors in both his freshman and sophomore seasons. In 1997, he led Indian Hills to the school's first championship and was named as an NJCAA All-American and the MVP of the 1997 national tournament. Bruton ended his career as the single–season and career steals leader at Indian Hills. He averaged 13.2 points per game as a freshman and 12.1 as a sophomore. He also led the team with 5.3 assists per game as a sophomore.[2]

On June 25, 1997, Bruton was selected with the 52nd overall pick by the Vancouver Grizzlies in the 1997 NBA draft. His draft rights were later traded to the Portland Trail Blazers in a draft night trade.[3]

Upon returning to the NBL in 1998, Bruton played for the Brisbane Bullets for one season before heading to Wollongong to play for the Hawks from 1998 to 2000.

In October 2000, he spent training camp with the Portland Trail Blazers. In November 2000, he joined the Sioux Falls Skyforce for the 2000–01 CBA season.

In 2001, Bruton joined the Canberra Cannons with his father, Calvin, as head coach. In 2003, the Canberra Cannons folded and instead of relocating with the club to Newcastle, Bruton began a successful stint with the Sydney Kings. In his time in Sydney, Bruton won two championships and co-captained the Kings with Jason Smith. This successful tenure also lead to his selection in the Boomers squad for the 2004 Olympic Games and the 2006 Commonwealth Games.[4]

Brisbane Bullets[edit]

Bruton signed for the cashed-up Brisbane Bullets for the 2006–07 NBL season, joining a star-studded team that also featured Mark Bradtke, Sam Mackinnon, Dusty Rychart, Stephen Black and Adam Gibson. The Bullets won the NBL Pre-Season Blitz held at Coffs Harbour, with Bruton being MVP of the mini-tournament and part of the All-Star Five. His team went 28-5 in the regular season, and then defeated the Melbourne Tigers 3-1 in the finals series to win the Bullets' third championship. The Bullets won the last 18 matches in the regular season, and with three more wins to start the playoffs, set a new NBL record of 21 straight victories. Bruton averaged 14.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

In the 2007–08 NBL season, Bruton took on an increased role on offense and averaged 19.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists in 33 games. The Bullets finished the regular season in third position with a 20-10 record, but eventually dipped out in the semi-finals to the eventual champions the Melbourne Tigers. For his efforts, Bruton was named in the All-NBL Second Team.

New Zealand Breakers[edit]

After the Brisbane Bullets became defunct, Bruton signed with the New Zealand Breakers with clear intentions of winning a championship. Bruton's signing gave the Breakers' stability and direction at the point guard position, something that had previously been missing. The Breakers started off the 2008–09 NBL season 15-4, but the loss of Bruton to a high-ankle sprain was telling, as the Breakers lost eight of their final eleven games. After winning through to a best-of-three semi-final series against the defending champion Melbourne Tigers, the Breakers suffered the same fate as Bruton's Bullets a year ago, swept 2-0.

In the 2009–10 NBL season, Bruton appeared in all 28 games for the Breakers, and averaged 16.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game. But despite Bruton's best efforts were in vain, with the Breakers finishing 15-13 for the season and in fifth place, missing out on the semi-finals.

In the 2010–11 NBL season, Bruton's playing role reduced, as he averaged only 25 minutes per game (as opposed to 32 minutes per game in the previous season). Consequently his individual numbers slipped, average 11.0 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. However on the team front, the Breakers became the first professional franchise based in New Zealand to win an Australian league. Bruton hit two three-pointers in the fourth quarter of the championship-deciding game against the Cairns Taipans to seal the championship. It was Bruton's fourth NBL title in his illustrious career.

On 16 March 2012, Bruton re-signed with Breakers for another two seasons. Bruton then would go on to become the only player to win five NBL titles when the Breakers won a hard fought grand final against Perth Wildcats.[5] He was subsequently named the 2012 Finals MVP.[6]

On 12 April 2013, the Breakers recorded their third NBL championship, sweeping the Perth Wildcats 2-0 in the grand final series, thus winning his sixth title.

On 8 December 2013, Bruton played his 500th game in an 82-84 loss to the Melbourne Tigers.[7][8]

On March 21, 2014, Bruton played his final NBL game in an 83-95 loss to the Cairns Taipans. In front of a huge Breakers' crowd at Vector Arena with family and friends in attendance, he recorded 11 points, 3 assists and 1 rebound in what was his 516th NBL game.[9][10][11][12]

Israel/Puerto Rico[edit]

In March 2009, following the 2008–09 NBL season, Bruton joined Ironi Ashkelon for the rest of the 2008–09 Israeli Basketball Super League season.

In April 2010, following the 2009–10 NBL season, Bruton joined Piratas de Quebradillas from the 2010 BSN season, joining fellow Boomer Shawn Redhage in the team's roster. The team went on to reach the league's semi-finals. He re-signed with Quebradillas midway in the 2011 season, joining another fellow Boomer, Mark Worthington. During the 2011 playoffs, Bruton was released from the team and replaced with Darius Washington. However, and in a strange move, Bruton was hired two days later as head coach of the team, after coach Manolo Cintron was fired mid-series. With Bruton as coach, Quebradillas eliminated Vaqueros de Bayamón, and advanced to their second league finals in three years.[13]

International career[edit]

In 2006, Bruton had an unsuccessful try-out with the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, and attended the veterans training camp with fellow Australian Chris Anstey. This try-out almost forced him to miss the 2006 World Championships. He did eventually compete in the championships as the Boomers made the round of sixteen.

In 2008, Bruton was selected to play as a member of the Australian Boomers at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In July 2010, Bruton was selected for the Boomers Camp. Shortly afterwards, Bruton announced his international retirement.

Personal[edit]

Bruton is the son of Calvin and Patricia. He and his wife, Jessica, have two sons: Rio and Roc.[14]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Ben Melmeth
NBL Most Improved Player
1999
Succeeded by
Andrew Goodwin
Preceded by
Thomas Abercrombie
NBL Grand Final MVP
2012
Succeeded by
Cedric Jackson