C. J. Bruton
|No. 23 – New Zealand Breakers|
|Position||Point guard / Shooting guard|
December 13, 1975 |
|Nationality||Australian / American|
|Listed height||188 cm (6 ft 2 in)|
|Listed weight||194 lb (88 kg)|
|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 playing career||1994–present|
|2000–2001||Sioux Falls Skyforce|
|2001||Marinos de Anzoategui|
|2008–present||New Zealand Breakers|
|2010, 2011||Piratas de Quebradillas|
|Career highlights and awards|
Calvin Thomas "C. J." Bruton, Jr. (born December 13, 1975) is an American-Australian professional basketball player who currently plays for the New Zealand Breakers of the 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. He debuted with the Perth Wildcats in 1994, which made him ineligible to play in the NCAA and so upon returning to the USA he competed in the NJCAA for Indian Hills Community College. While there he won an NJCAA National Championship with Indian Hills JC and was named as an NJCAA All-American. In 1997 he was selected by the Vancouver Grizzlies in the NBA Draft, but was not signed by the team.
Upon returning to the NBL in 1997, Bruton played for the Brisbane Bullets for one season before heading to Wollongong to play for the Hawks from 1998-2000. Bruton then played for the Canberra Cannons with his father, Cal Bruton, 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 would win two championships and co-captain the Kings with Jason Smith. This successful tenure also lead to him being selected in the Boomers squad for the 2004 Olympic Games and the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
On October 10, 2013, Bruton was named in the Sydney Kings 25th Anniversary Team.
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
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 made history by becoming 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. He was subsequently named the 2012 Finals MVP.
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.
Piratas de Quebradillas
Bruton was signed in 2010 by the Piratas de Quebradillas of the Puerto Rican basketball league, joining fellow Boomer Shawn Redhage in the team's roster. During 2010 the team reached the league's semi-finals, Bruton has drawn comparisons to former Puerto Rican star point guard Fico López.
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 the Vaqueros de Bayamon, and advanced to their second league finals in three years.
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 July 2010, Bruton was selected for the Boomers Camp. Shortly afterwards, Bruton announced his international retirement.
- MightyMite Sydney Kings announce 25th Anniversary Team
- "Bruton Will End Career With The SKYCITY Breakers". NBL.com.au. March 16, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- Bruton 'the difference' for Breakers in title win
- R9 Report: Farrakhan delivers, Melbourne edge Breakers
- CJ's 500th Game
- Change direction and bring Bruton south
|NBL Most Improved Player