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Player of the Decade: Case Bruton could score with the best of 'em
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Player of the Decade

Player of the Decade: Case Bruton could score with the best of 'em

From the What you need to know for Friday, November 6 series

Case Bruton had no illusions about his role on the basketball court. 

Bruton wanted to score. And score he did. 

The Los Osos native spent his first season of high school ball at Morro Bay and averaged 11.7 points per game with the Pirates as a freshman. 

He moved on to a bigger program for his final three years of high school, transferring to St. Joseph. There, Bruton proved his could lead the bigger program. 

Bruton put together one of the most impressive offensive careers -- and individual seasons -- with the Knights, scoring nearly 1,300 points in three seasons, including his 675-point campaign as a senior. 

In all, Bruton put up 1,593 points in four years of high school, averaging 15.3 points per game. 

Righetti principal Karen Rotondi notified parents in an email Wednesday night. St. Joseph High School, which did begin on-campus instruction weeks ago, shut down its campus and switched back to distance after learning a student at that school had tested positive for COVID-19, also after attending a Halloween party.

As a senior in the 2012-13 season, Bruton averaged 21.1 points per game as the Knights went 23-9. Bruton helped the Knights advance to the CIF Southern Section Division 4A semifinals and a state playoff win that year.

Bruton has been chosen as the next Player of the Decade nominee. The Times is compiling a list of 16 candidates for its Player of the Decade contest.

Bruton signed with Concordia University, an NAIA program, and played there after high school, ultimately playing professionally overseas. He's currently playing with a pro team in Lithuania.

“I think the thing that separates Case is his dedication and commitment, you know, not only to improving himself but improving the team,” St. Joseph coach Tom Mott once said of Bruton. “He’s the ultimate team player and someone you knew was going to lead every day on the court.”

“We’re definitely going to miss a guy who gets 20 points a game, but what we’re going to really miss is his leadership," Mott said when Bruton signed with Concordia. "He definitely raised the bar.”

Bruton raised the bar by playing high-level offense, a skill that was based on his outside shot. Bruton, at 6-foot-4, would spend most offensive sets running off screens, from baseline to baseline or on the wings, for what seemed like all 32 minutes of each game. He knocked down 58 3-pointers as a senior and hit over 100 in his final two seasons. 

The shooting guard averaged 11.1 points per game in his first season at St. Joseph and bumped that up to 14.5 points per game as a junior. Then, as a senior, his scoring averaged jumped up to over 21 points a game. 

Bruton wasn't a one-dimensional player. He did average 5.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game at St. Joseph. 

He finished his prep career with 1,593 points and over 600 rebounds, 200 assists and 130 steals.

Bruton developed into a capable player at Concordia, averaging about eight points a game over his final two seasons in Irvine. 

The Times is polling current and former coaches to develop its list of nominees for Player of the Decade. The rest of the nominees will be announced before a tournament-style voting contest will be held to determine the boys basketball Player of the Decade. Readers will be able to vote online at santamariatimes.com; lompocrecord.com and syvnews.com. Players from Northern Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County whose final seasons where between 2009-10 and 2019-20 are eligible.

Player of the Decade Boys Basketball: Get to know the nominees before voting starts

We have been working to highlight the decade's best players in several different sports over the last few months, and now we continue with boys basketball. Go through this collection of profiles of our nominees and get ready for the voting.  We've really enjoyed the level of participation we've had with the football and girls basketball polls, so share these profiles and the contest with your friends to get the word out and support our local athletes.  

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