Basketball coach CJ Bruton said he wanted to get Kai Sotto when he was still deputy coach for the Brisbane Bullets in Australia's National Basketball League (NBL).
Now that he's hired as the new Adelaide 36ers coach, taking over the reins from Connor Henry, he finally gets the chance to mentor the Filipino hoops phenom.
Bruton revealed in his first press conference as 36ers coach that it was a conversation about Sotto that kind of brought him to coaching Adelaide.
"I just met Kai Sotto and ran into him and (general manager Jeff Van Groningen) at the stadium, talking about putting his name forward and following a guy like that," Bruton said.
"And then, it gradually grew to a meeting with (chairman) Grant (Kelley) and talking with him and hearing their vision and their views on where they want this team to go, what they've been building over time, and how they how they see this going forward. And then it became about how do we join us together? If our stars align, then it's good."
The 45-year-old Bruton is one of NBL's all-time greats, debuting in 1994 and completing a colorful 516-game career in 2014.
Bruton won six NBL championships that cemented his place as one of the best in Australia.
He was also part of Australian Boomers, playing for the national team at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, 2008 in Beijing, and the 2006 World Championships in Japan.
Aside from getting the chance to coach Sotto, Bruton will also have at his disposal G-Leaguers Emmanuel Malou, Dusty Hannahs, and Todd Withers.
“I look at our roster and already see that it’s built for success," he said.
“We have the balance of young players and veteran players, and you’ve got to mix that with the international players and making sure that everyone feels a piece and feel involved and that they can grow in this game.” he added.
Bruton will begin working with the players soon.
“I’m all about effort and if you bring the effort every single day, then you will you’ll be rewarded not only at practice but also in the community. And then it comes about communication, it’s the number one thing that we’ve got to have,” he said.
The NBL season will kick off on November 18.