KAI Sotto will get a chance to learn from one of the most decorated players in Australia as CJ Bruton has been named the new head coach for the Adelaide 36ers.
The 45-year-old has been given the reins to lead the team starting in the 2021-22 National Basketball League (NBL), where he will be one of the main mentors for the Filipino prodigy.
"I am honored to be appointed as the new head coach of the Adelaide 36ers. [Adelaide chairman] Grant Kelley and [general manager] Jeff Van Groningen have laid out their future vision for the club and I’m excited to play a lead role in moving the program forward in a successful and sustainable way," Bruton said.
Olympian and six-time NBL champ
He is a six-time NBL champion in a career that included stops at the Sydney Kings, Brisbane Bullets, and New Zealand Breakers, where he was named as the Grand Finals MVP in 2012.
Bruton was also twice a member of the All-NBL First Team, and the Most Improved Player in 1999.
He also represented Australia, winning the gold medal in the 2006 Commonwealth Games and played for the Boomers in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
A former head coach of the Brisbane Spartans in the South East Australian Basketball League, Bruton has held an assistant coaching post with the Brisbane Bullets behind coach Andrej Lemanis from 2016 until last season.
"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 the championship," Bruton said.
"I believe what I will bring the 36ers franchise will go beyond just winning games, but I also believe in creating and maintaining a culture that future players are excited to be a part of. The 36ers have a deep history, some of the most loyal fans in the league, that always show passion and love for their club. We’re ready. Let’s do this," he said.
At Adelaide, Bruton will have a chance to handle Sotto as well as local heroes Isaac Humphries, Mitch McCarron, Daniel Johnson, rising star Mojave King, and imports Dusty Hannahs, Todd Withers, and Emmanuel Malou.
He replaced Conner Henry, who was relieved from his post last month.
"CJ is a special person, a talented leader and is absolutely ready for this opportunity. I’ve seen first-hand the positive, winning effect he has on those around him, it’s an intangible but it’s so important and will help us achieve great things over these next few seasons," said Van Groningen, ahead of the season opener on Nov. 18.