ROLE MODELS: CJ Bruton and his brother Austin held a training workshop for young basketballers at Southern Cross School’s gym at Ballina on Tuesday.
ROLE MODELS: CJ Bruton and his brother Austin held a training workshop for young basketballers at Southern Cross School’s gym at Ballina on Tuesday.

Brothers on the ball

IT'S been an alley-oop affair at Ballina, as Olympic basketballer CJ Bruton and his brother Austin teamed up to train young ball players.

CJ, a six-time National Basketball League champion, and Austin, a Western Australia State League star, conducted a workshop for high-school age basketballers at Southern Cross School's gym on Tuesday.

A junior session was also held on Monday.

Part-time basketball coach Tim Edwards, whose daughter plays in Ballina's under-16 state team, was in attendance on Tuesday and spoke highly of the Bruton brothers.

"The Bruton brothers led the young men and women through drills designed to enhance their one-on-one attacking skills as well as their team playing skills," he said.

"As each new skill was introduced and practised, CJ repeatedly stressed the need for players to communicate effectively while playing.

Young basketballers at a training workshop held by CJ Bruton and his brother Austin on Tuesday at Southern Cross School's Ballina gym
Young basketballers at a training workshop held by CJ Bruton and his brother Austin on Tuesday at Southern Cross School's Ballina gym Contributed

"Bruton explained that they may play in front of an audience of only 20 … or they may play to a crowd of 200, 2000 or even 20,000.

"Timid communication in such a charged environment is disastrous for team dynamics," Bruton said.

Basketballers at the workshop hailed from Lismore, Byron Bay, Ballina and even as far as Grafton and the Gold Coast.

In a demonstration of his dedication, CJ went out of his way to look after a junior player who mistakenly attended Tuesday's session.

"Rather than being turned away, CJ and Austin gave this junior player special personalised tuition all day, so he walked away from the seminar with not only a great developmental experience, but also the thrill of having been mentored by two of Australia's best and most knowledgeable basketballers," Edwards said.

"The Bruton brothers are nothing if not generous teachers."

Ballina Basketball Association's Eva Ramsey said the region was fortunate to have someone of CJ's stature to help with the development of young players.

She noted Bruton was not just a terrific player and coach, but also a terrific person and a great role model for local kids.


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