Former NBL Rookie of the Year Returns for Adelaide 36ers

The Adelaide 36ers have received a late Christmas present with the news that Australian guard Aaron Bruce has been cleared to join the team in time for their vital New Year’s Eve iiNet NBL Championship showdown with the Wollongong Hawks tonight at The Dome in Adelaide. Bruce was an Australian Boomers representative at the 2006 FIBA World Championships and won the NBL’s Rookie of the Year award in 2009 prior to taking a career break in the US. The 36ers announced their intention to sign the livewire guard as a replacement for Rhys Carter, who has been forced onto injury waivers with a back problem, only yesterday.  While player signings normally take a number of days to complete at minimum, Bruce’s was able to be fast tracked as he hasn’t played competitive basketball anywhere since his last NBL season with Adelaide and therefore didn’t require the normal international clearances to return to his former team. Bruce said from Adelaide that he was looking forward to getting back to the elite level once more. “I’m excited to be back in Adelaide and (to) have the opportunity to play at this level again,” the 26-year-old, 190cm guard said. Originally from Horsham in Victoria, Bruce’s return will be bittersweet as it comes at the expense of Carter, who was his teammate along with NBA superstar Andrew Bogut on the Australian Emus junior national side which won a gold medal at the Under 19 World Championship in 2003. “I’ve played with and been a close friend of Rhys’ since we were kids,” Bruce reflected.  “I care firstly for his health and secondly hope he is back on court soon.” Having had only a brief training run with the 36ers before being called upon to replace Carter, Bruce said he was ready to do whatever Adelaide Head Coach Marty Clarke asked of him. “I just need to be prepared to play whatever role Marty asks of me and to help the team win,” he said. “I love Adelaide and loved playing for the 36ers, I am just grateful to have the opportunity to pull on a 36ers’ uniform again and I hope I can help the team make a run at the play-offs.” In his return game for the 36ers, who have a 4-7 record and are seventh on the iiNet NBL Championship ladder, his club will host the Wollongong Hawks (9-4, 4th), who are led by exciting import point guard Gary Ervin.  The prospect of guarding Ervin, who is the early consensus MVP favourite this season, in his return match will most assuredly test out Bruce’s match fitness and will be a fascinating battle to watch unfold.

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