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Pirates find an asset in Bruns

Reliable.

Steady.

Consistent.

When Crystal River boys coach Tony Stukes speaks about senior shooting guard Jason Bruns, these are the words that come out.

"He's very workmanlike," Stukes said. "He just shows up every day and does his job."

And does it well.

The 6-foot-3 Bruns is a three-year starter who was honorable-mention all-area last season after averaging about 15 points.

He currently averages 13.5 points (a team best) and 5.4 rebounds for the Pirates, who were 6-13, 4-7 in Class 4A, District 9 before Thursday night's game against Nature Coast Tech.

They play at Lecanto tonight.

"His scoring average is down a little bit this year, but that's because we ask him to do a lot more," Stukes said.

"He plays inside more. We even ask him to play the point sometimes. He does a good job at whatever we need him to do."

As a sophomore, Bruns was _ by his admission _ little more than a long-range gunner.

"I was pretty much a 3-point shooter and that's it," Bruns said. "That's about all I had."

As his game evolved, Bruns

began spending more time inside the arc, not only scoring but crashing the boards.

Bruns often takes the ball to the hole and plays with his back to the basket in the paint. He has played every position but center.

Bruns still is a viable 3-point threat, but his versatility is what makes him one of the area's top all-around players.

Stukes said several small colleges are showing interest.

"Jason's always been a great shooter," Stukes said. "But now he's a great rebounder. He's so much better now (than in past seasons). He's much stronger. He plays more physical."

With the recent dismissals of senior starters Chris Bunch, a guard, and forward Chianta Smith, Bruns, the team captain, is the only remaining senior.

Vocal leadership never has been his thing. Until now.

"I've had to step up," Bruns said.

No problem there.

In a 60-46 upset last week of Hernando, Bruns hit two 3-pointers and scored 24.

"He's able to do so many things," Stukes said. "The kids understand that and look for him.

_ Keith Niebuhr can be reached at 860-7337 or online at niebuhrsptimes.com.

INTRODUCING: JASON BRUNS

AGE: 17.

GRADE: Senior.

FAVORITE MOVIE: Old School.

HOBBIES: Riding four-wheelers and playing video games.

PERSON YOU MOST ADMIRE: My dad (Jeff).

FAVORITE TYPE OF FOOD: Pizza.

_ Compiled by Keith Niebuhr.

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