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Lucky or unlucky 13th for CJ?

THE Adelaide 36ers today formalised the news we broke here exclusively on Tuesday that CJ Bruton will be the club's new NBL coach. His appointment is for the next three seasons (at least), succeeding sacked former mentor Conner Henry.

The Sixers finally got their man after several rejections from established past NBL coaches, and, most likely accidentally, appear to have landed on their feet.

Clearly the club had no-one locked down when it took the unusual step of flying Henry back for the second of his initial three-year contract, before sacking him after he completed his 14-day quarantine in Brisbane.

Bruton, 45, the son of multiple NBL championship-winner Cal, has completed an extended coaching apprenticeship and appears ready to be given his chance as a senior head coach.

His first season will be a honeymoon regardless as he stamps his imprimatur on a roster mostly selected by 36ers management.

Bruton becomes Adelaide's 13th coach, following in the footsteps of Mike Osborne, Ken Cole, Gary Fox, Don Shipway, Don Monson, Mike Dunlap, David Claxton, Phil Smyth, Scott Ninnis, Marty Clarke, Joey Wright and Henry.

Sixers fans have endured a wild ride with some of those at the helm and enter the coming 2021-22 season as their 20th since winning the championship in 2002 under Smyth.

Wright, who coached Bruton to an NBL championship when CJ was a player at Brisbane in 2007, in his debut season in Adelaide took the 36ers from last under Clarke, to the 2014 grand final.

Adelaide again made the championship series in 2018, losing in five games to Melbourne United.

Bruton won six championships as a player across a 516-game NBL career from 1994-2014, while averaging 14.9 points and 3.6 assists per game.

As a point guard, his basketball IQ was off the charts, leading him to assist Andrej Lemanis at the Bullets since the club returned to the NBL five years ago. Many expected him to succeed Lemanis into the Bullets job.

Between CJ (Perth, Brisbane, Wollongong, Canberra, Sydney, New Zealand and now Adelaide) and his father Cal (Brisbane, Geelong, Perth, Canberra, Hobart, West Sydney) the Bruton name has become synonymous with basketball in every state or territory in Australia where NBL has been played.

It is an amazing family legacy, both also representing Australia internationally, CJ at Olympic Games in Athens and Beijing.

Sep 10

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.