NBA Champion Alex Caruso began basketball journey in Brazos Valley

Caruso played at A&M consolidated, Texas A&M, before ending up with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 10:30 AM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Before holding up the Larry O’Brien NBA championship trophy last week, Alex Caruso was a local talent working his way to the top of the basketball world.

Back in 2012, Caruso was playing on the A&M Consolidated High School Basketball Team, and teachers say he was always the tall kid who loved to play basketball.

“We all recall a tall skinny kid walk in the halls around here who was friendly everybody liked him," said Julie Pye, a teacher at A&M Consolidated. “The students, his peers, liked him. His teachers liked him, and his teachers all have said that he was interactive in class and he took care of business and he was dedicated to his academics just as we all know he was super dedicated to basketball.”

Caruso’s dad Mike, says that even during his time at Consol, he and his wife knew their son was destined for great things.

“By his senior year they won 31 games, district champs, the same thing at A&M, we were an OK team when he gets there, by senior year we went to the Sweet Sixteen, winning the SEC championship. So I really expected that to happen in the NBA,” said Mike Caruso.

Before Caruso made it to A&M, he was a ball boy for the Men’s Basketball team. Years later, he would find himself on the court, wearing the jersey, and playing for the Aggies.

This year, after time in the NBA G League, Caruso made it on a contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. His father says his grit, perseverance, and “can-do” attitude were big factors in his recent rise to fame.

“From a social media standpoint, he is like a giant out there, they absolutely love him,” said Mike Caruso. “But I think it’s his style, I think it’s what he does, he brings energy, he brings excitement, enthusiasm, and that work ethic, it doesn’t fit the mold of a typical NBA player.”

After the NBA was shut down from the COVID-19 pandemic, the future of the season was up in the air. However, when the idea of the NBA “bubble” came about, hope was restored. Seven weeks ago, Alex Caruso’s parents joined him in the bubble in Florida. There, they watched every single game at the cost of being tested for COVID-19 every single day.

Then, it was the final game of the series against the Miami Heat for the NBA championship.

“The final game where we win the championship, they decided to start Alex and he played 33 minutes and from a defensive standpoint, you know Miami was never in the game,” said Mike Caruso.

As soon as the game was over, Caruso’s parents joined him on the court to celebrate.

“Just pride and joy happiness for him. I mean, you know with what I’ve seen and the work we’ve seen him put in, the hours of hard work and also to see it pay off like that was just so, such an elation,” said Mike Caruso.

Now, forever, A&M Consolidated class of 2012 Alex Caruso, an Aggie and a Laker, is an NBA Champion.

“It’s just wonderful, he is a great role model and he is living proof of hard work pays off,” said Pye. “You just have to dedicate yourself to it, and one of his teachers said that he had it figured out early on that team really was more important than himself, and he’s proven that every step of the way.”

“There were so many people that after he graduated from A&M, that were like ‘yeah he’s a good college player, but he’s never going to have a chance in the NBA. He might be able to go overseas and maybe make a living over there,' but he didn’t listen to any of that, he listened to his heart, and that got him an NBA championship,” said Mike Caruso.

Pye says after talking with more of Caruso’s teachers, one story stuck out the most to her. It was an assignment in class to answer the question, ‘What is your purpose?’. She says Alex’s answer was: “I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m pretty sure it involves basketball."

“And he was right,” said Pye.

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