Newly appointed Adelaide 36ers coach CJ Bruton says he's taking over a power-packed NBL outfit.
The vastly experienced Bruton, 45, has signed a three-year deal to replace Connor Henry, who was axed a fortnight ago despite having a year to run on his contract.
"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," Bruton said in a statement on Friday.
Bruton, a six-time NBL championship winner as a player, joins Adelaide after a stint as an assistant coach at the Brisbane Bullets.
Adelaide 36ers chairman Grant Kelley said he was delighted to secure Bruton's services.
"While CJ's basketball pedigree is without peer, it is his personal qualities which we believe 36ers' fans will value highly - tenacity, commitment to the cause and the ability to blend high performance with care for the individual," Kelley said.
The 36ers have missed the playoffs in three consecutive seasons since being beaten grand finalists in 2017-18.
But the 36ers' general manager of basketball Jeff Van Groningen said Bruton was the ideal candidate to lead the franchise back to the finals.
Van Groningen, who has held the same managerial role at NBL rivals including Brisbane and the Sydney Kings, had previously prioritised Bruton as a key playing recruit during his time at the Bullets.
"CJ is a special person, a talented leader and is absolutely ready for this opportunity," Van Groningen said.
"I have seen firsthand 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."
Bruton, to be head coach of an NBL outfit for the first time, is an all-time great of Australian basketball.
A dual Olympian, he played for the Boomers 104 times.
He was part of Australia's gold-medal winning Commonwealth Games team at the 2006 Melbourne Games and was an assistant coach for the Boomers when they also won Commonwealth gold in 2018 on the Gold Coast.
Australian Associated Press