Bruton loses dreadlocks, not three-peat desire
You could be forgiven for walking straight past CJ Bruton in Timaru yesterday.
Gone were his trademark dreadlocks but not his desire for a three-peat of titles in the Australian National Basketball League this season.
The 36-year-old was in Timaru to check out the SBS Events Centre ahead of the NZ Breakers holding a training session with 1000 South Canterbury children on September 12, in between South Island pre-season games with the Wollongong Hawks, in Christchurch and Dunedin.
"My wife has been trying to get me to cut it," Bruton said of his former head of hair.
"When we met, it was like this but then I grew it out. She had to braid my hair, then it was a mini-afro, then it was dreadlocked and now we're back to square one."
The five-time ANBL champion said he still had plenty to prove after he signed a two-year extension with the Breakers midway through last season.
"We want to prove we're a team which is going to fight for the championship again but I have to prove why the Breakers decided to keep me here.
"The kid inside me that loved basketball, the drive to be successful, to be a great basketball player ... I want to finish on a high."
Bruton said as a young player, he went where he could get a job and make an impact.
He said even in the twilight of his career, he didn't want to warm the bench. "I told coach [Andrej Lemanis] ‘Hey, I'm still here to play'.
"I know when a role needs to be played and I'm not about to take a back seat to nobody."
South Canterbury Basketball general manager Sean Fuller said he hoped fundraising efforts on the day would allow the organisation to purchase six mini-hoops to make it easier for youngsters to try their hand at the sport.
He also hoped the visit would create further coaching opportunities for young players.
"It's good to get guys of CJ's calibre down here for coaching clinics.
"We hoping to send a few [players] to a clinic in Ashburton.
"Hopefully, there will be follow-ups next year and we can get more coaching opportunities down this way."
- © Fairfax NZ News