The Hoods longest serving player and club captain has called time on a glistening career. After 6 national titles – as well as scooping the 2010 and 2013 MVP awards – he has become one of Nottingham’s most successful players.
Bruce picked up basketball at a very late stage, only starting playing at the University of Hull, but he soon got the bug and went on to captain the side, leading them to the Yorkshire League trophy as well as promotion in the BUSA university league structure. When his course sent him to Italy for the year, he honed his skills in one of Europe’s top basketball nations, playing for both the university and local sides. Upon his return to the UK, he was in the right place at the right time and was snapped up by the Nottingham Hustlers where he grew to be one of the National League’s most prolific rebounders. As the franchise changed hands and became the Nottingham Knights, Bruce was one of only three players kept on despite signings from some of the UK’s biggest and most successful clubs.
At the Knights, Bruce soon became the fans’ favourite, showing where his nickname “Lord Air” came from by controlling the boards in any game he played as well as providing a few dunk highlights! In the 2003/04 season, the Knights won the League and Championship double and Bruce’s importance was recognised at the inaugural trophy presentation evening where he won the Media & Fans Player Award. In the 2004/05 season, the Knights went one step further as they won the League, Championship and Cup treble – the first team to achieve such a feat – with Bruce finishing in the National Top 10 for rebounding.
After leaving the Knights, Bruce spent 3 years with his local club, Coalville Cougars where he lead the league in scoring on their way to back-to-back-to-back titles. Following their unparalleled success they were granted a National League franchise, but Bruce had other ideas as his old friend Lee English was setting up the Nottingham Hoods. It proved to be a great decision as the Hoods were a huge success, mauling the Cougars in both their league meetings. With the biggest crowd in the entire England Basketball structure backing them, they brought home the 2010 National Championship in their first season, with Bruce scooping the prestigious Most Valuable Player award.
4 years on with the Hoods, Bruce holds the club records for most rebounds in a game (22) and most rebounds per game (8.0 average from over 85 games) and bows out after his best pe
rsonal season ever, hitting his career high points tally in a game as well as finishing in the Top 3 for points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks per game.
Bruce says, “It has been a really difficult decision for me to make because basketball has been such an important part of my life, but I have a family now and I want to spend more time with them. I’ve been very fortunate in what I’ve achieved and experienced in the sport and whilst I’d love to win one more National Title with the Hoods, the timing is right. This season’s team has been incredible, a great bunch of guys to train and play with and I will miss them all. It’s been an incredible journey, from a lanky, uncoordinated student moving from oval shaped balls to round ones to winning MVP awards and playing at the NIA – I have to keep pinching myself!!”
Hoods GM Lee English commented, “Bruce has been an integral part of the Hoods setup both on and off the court since I started the franchise and he will be missed more than he knows. I was gutted when he told me the news – I knew it was coming but thought I might get at least one more season out him! He has helped build this club to where it is, for which I thank him, and on behalf of the whole Hoods family I want to wish him all the best for the future.”