Kai Sotto 'outstanding' with Adelaide 36ers, says coach

Rick Olivares - Philstar.com
Kai Sotto 'outstanding' with Adelaide 36ers, says coach
Kai Sotto signed a multi-year contract with Australian NBL team Adelaide 36ers.
Twitter / Adelaide 36ers

MANILA, Philippines – With the 2021-22 National Basketball League (Australia) season set to tip off December 3, the excitement for the campaign of the Adelaide 36ers has picked up not only in this fifth most populous city Down Under, but also here in the Philippines.

After all, this is seen as a stepping stone for 7-foot-2 Kai Sotto to go to the NBA. 

CJ Bruton, the new head coach of the 36ers, related how this season is shaping out to be. 

“I am definitely excited,”” he pronounced during the press conference with Philippine media as organized by Tap Digital Media Ventures. “The fans are getting behind us.

The support has definitely picked up not only with the signing of Kai Sotto but also with the way we’ve conducted ourselves in the community and the basketball floor. It has been building before Kai got here but he transformed all that.”

Bruton himself is no stranger to arrivals and expectations. Although born in Wichita, Kansas, his family moved to Australia when CJ was only three years old. He returned Stateside for his college career and was drafted by the Vancouver Grizzlies in the 1997 NBA Draft. 

His rights were traded to the Portland Trailblazers although he was unable to suit up for the Western Conference Team. Bruton eventually played professionally in Australia, the United States, Venezuela and Puerto Rico, after which he transitioned into coaching. 

Bruton is in his first year with Adelaide after serving as an assistant to former Australia national coach Andrej Lemanis with the Brisbane Bullets.

The 36ers finished seventh during last year’s campaign but Bruton is determined to help them compete for a championship.

Of this upcoming season (including the preseason where the 36ers are currently 3-0), Bruton underscored that he is handling a wholly different team. 

“I am coaching new players, putting in a new system and philosophies. We’ve shown progression along the way while the boys have shown a willingness to adapt. We’re showing good signs of what we can become. However, we are nowhere near where we need to be to win a championship. I’d like to believe that every team is in the same boat in competing for the common goal.”

Regarding Sotto, CJ said he is working closely with the Filipino to prepare him not only for the grind of a NBL season, but also for his future. “What I have in store for him is to grow and become the best possible player he can become. With that, it takes time and work. What he has put in is amazing. He has shown everyone in this roster, the league, and the world, this is just the starting point.”

“The expectations for Kai, right now, it’s being the best player he can be. As for our system on the floor, he has adapted well. He’s been outstanding in the way he approaches our work.”

The matches of Sotto and the Adelaide 36ers will be shown on Tap Sports on Skycable and Cignal as well as the Tap Go app where fans may subscribe to the streaming service.

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