AJ Bramlett at home in Spain

AJ Bramlett helped lead the University of Arizona to its only NCAA Basketball Championship in 1997. As a 6-10 sophomore, Bramlett was the starting center for the Wildcats team that started no seniors. Bramlett scored only five points in the two Final Four games, however, it was his work on the boards that contributed to the Wildcats capturing the National Championship.

Bramlett battled the Tar Heels' Serge Zwicker and Antwawn Jamison, pulling down 10 rebounds in Arizona's 66-58 win over North Carolina in the Final Four semifinal. In the national championship game against Kentucky, Bramlett snagged six boards, although he played only 27 minutes due to foul trouble. There's not much doubt that the Wildcats would have gone home early had it not been for Bramlett's work on the glass.

Bramlett was an All-PAC-10 First Team performer during his senior season, averaging 14.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.28 blocks per game. He finished as the sixth-leading rebounder in Arizona history, grabbing a total of 817 boards. He also finished 25th on the Wildcats all-time scoring list, totaling 1,098 points. He started the final 78 games of his career and posted 27 double-doubles in his career, third most in school history.

Bramlett was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers, but after his brief tour of the NBA he's found a career playing for Capabro Lleida (Spain) in the Spanish ACB League. Bramlett is in his forth season with Capabro Lleida and earns about $500,000 a year. Like most European players, his housing and transportation is also furnished.

"Things have been going well for me over here in Spain for the last 4 years," Bramlett said. "I have been playing with the same team for 3 years and I have another year on my contract for next year. Spain is a nice place to live and the league is the best in Europe overall."

It doesn't happen that often, but occasionally he runs into another former Wildcat.

"I saw Joseph (Blair) in Yugoslavia a couple months ago," Bramlett said. "We were there playing in the ULEB Cup and he was there playing in the Euroleague. We just happened to be staying at the same hotel, so it was nice to see him. I've seen him a few times since I've been playing over here. Last year Michael Wright was playing over here so it was nice to have another Wildcat in Spain."

Bramlett took the plunge last summer when he married his high school sweetheart in Albuquerque during the Euroleague break. They returned to Spain for the season and life for the Bramletts has been very good.

"Married life has been going well so far and my wife and I have been enjoying the time together," Bramlett said. "My Spanish is pretty good, but I do miss being at home sometimes. I can't complain though, I'm making a good living and playing in a nice country."

Bramlett would like to see more of the Wildcats, but he keeps up with his Alma Mater even though he's on the other side of the world.

"I keep up with the Cats over the Internet and when games come on I catch them when I can," he said. "I saw them kill UCLA the other week, so that is always nice to see."

Where are they now?
Rick Anderson - Kosalin, Poland
Joseph Blair –Ulker, Turkey
A. J. Bramlett – Lleida, Spain
Ben Davis – Roseto, Italy
Jason Gardner – Telindus, Belgium
Reggie Geary – Bourg, France
Corey Williams – Leuven, Belgium
Michael Wright – Tel Aviv, Israel

Others of interest:
Tyus Edney (UCLA) – Treviso, Italy
Ed O'Bannon (UCLA) – Bydgoszoz, Poland
Rick Rickert (Minnesota) – Krka, Slovania
Casey Schmidt (UA/Valparaiso)– Napoli, Italy
Greg Newton (Duke) – Moscow, Russia
Former Arizona guard Matt Muehlebach, who is an attorney in Tucson, manages Newton. Muehlebach also manages Loren Woods, who is playing in the NBA for the Miami Heat.


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