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CJ Bruton now a Brisbane Bullet

dave nz
06-28-2006, 10:53 AM
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WEDNESDAY June 28, 2006

Bruton a Bullet
Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 08:38 AM
NBL, Brisbane Bullets

The Brisbane Bullets have announced that one of the Philips Championship's brightest stars, CJ Bruton, has signed with the club.

Bruton, who captained the Australian Boomers to a gold medal at this year's Commonwealth Games, has agreed to a three year deal with Brisbane in one of the more significant announcements of the current off-season.

Bruton was an integral part of the Sydney Kings rise to prominence, winning two Philips Championship rings in the past three seasons.

The BreakFree Bullets will welcome Bruton into a strong guard rotation that includes incumbant stars Stephen Black, Mick Hill and runner-up Rookie of the Year Adam Gibson. The Bullets are looking to participate in their fifth consecutive playoff campaign and striving to be contenders deep into the post-season.

Bruton is currently working out in Cleveland, Ohio, as he attempts to crack the world's number one basketball competition, the NBA. He attended the Cavaliers "mini-camp" last month as one of 19 players brought in by the team for roster consideration and will play for the Cavaliers at next months' Las Vegas Summer League - attended by scouts, executives and coaches from many of the NBA's top teams.

BreakFree Bullets General Manager Jeff Van Groningen, who was a guest of the Cavaliers program in May, said developments had progressed steadily over the past month.

"CJ and I caught up in late May as he began work-outs in Cleveland. We wanted CJ to know that we'd love to have him in Brisbane and that he'd be part of a strong team, on and off the court. CJ indicated he had enjoyed his earlier time in Brisbane and felt a sense of heritage here having spent some of his youth in the city when his father was playing for the Bullets. We felt that if he doesn't make the NBA this could be an ideal home for him and we'd be an option to consider rather than Europe. We spent a great deal of time over the last month discussing things pertaining to our program, and our goals as a club. After thought and consideration, he felt it was a vision he very much shared, and we're ecstatic. We support his NBA try-out, but if he doesn't make that league, we look forward to him running out in a BreakFree Bullets uniform this season.", Van Groningen said.

Bruton, 30, is looking forward to his next challenge in Australia.

"I like what the Bullets are doing and I feel like they've been steadily building their program, on court and off it, over the past four years or so. If I can't get into the NBA this off-season, I couldn't think of a better program to go to. They're driven to be the top club in Australia, their crowds are up, and they're working hard all the time to do things better. I spent a lot of time with Jeff and found out all I could. I want to be part of the club, I feel like I can really contribute and add to it.”

BreakFree Bullets Head Coach Joey Wright believes CJ Bruton's signing is a crucial one for the team.

“CJ is a very dynamic player capable of changing games offensively and defensively. His leadership ability along with his knowledge of players on the current roster should go a long way in challenging for the 2006 / 2007 NBL Championship.“

The BreakFree Bullets now turn their attention to filling their final roster position - a second import - with the Head Coach & General Manager travelling to two NBA Summer League Programs in July to assess options.