Calvin Thomas "C. J." Bruton Jr. (born 13 December 1975) is an American-Australian professional basketball
coach and former player who is an assistant coach for the Brisbane Bullets
of the Australian National Basketball League
(NBL). He played the majority of his career in the NBL where he won six league championships
and was a five-time All-NBL Team
selection. Bruton played for numerous NBL teams over his career: Perth Wildcats
, Brisbane Bullets, Wollongong Hawks
, Canberra Cannons
, Sydney Kings
and New Zealand Breakers
Bruton was born in the United States and moved to Australia at the age of three when his father, Cal
, signed with the Bullets in 1979. He returned to the United States to play college basketball
for Indian Hills Community College
from 1995 to 1997. Bruton was a second round selection of the Vancouver Grizzlies
in the 1997 NBA draft
and traded to the Portland Trail Blazers
but did not make the team's roster.
Bruton began his coaching career as head coach of the Brisbane Spartans in the South East Australian Basketball League
(SEABL). He was appointed as an assistant coach for the Bullets in 2016.
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.
On 25 June 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.
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
. Bruton was named to the Sydney Kings 25th Anniversary Team in 2013.
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.
During the 2007 NBL offseason, Bruton coached the South West Metro Pirates of the Queensland ABL
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 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. 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.
On 8 December 2013, Bruton played his 500th game in an 82-84 loss to the Melbourne Tigers.
On 21 March 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.
In March 2009, following the 2008–09 NBL season, Bruton joined Ironi Ashkelon
for the rest of the 2008–09 Israeli Basketball Super League
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.
On 1 December 2014, Bruton was appointed head coach of the Brisbane Spartans men's team for the 2015 SEABL
season. In September 2015, Bruton was appointed assistant coach and Basketball Operations Manager of the Brisbane Bullets
for the team's return season in 2016–17. On 18 January 2016, he was appointed player/coach of the Brisbane Spartans for the 2016 SEABL season.
National team career
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.
Bruton is the son of Calvin and Patricia. He and his wife, Jessica, have three sons: Rio, Roc and Diggy.
External linksEurobasket.com profileNBL stats
Category:American expatriate basketball people in Australia
Category:American expatriate basketball people in Israel
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Category:Commonwealth Games gold medallists for Australia
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