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Thursday, June 9, 2011
Alex Caruso on the rise

By Dave Telep
ESPN Recruiting

Last weekend's Pangos All-American Camp was a stunning success for Alex Caruso (College Station, Texas/Texas A&M Consolidated). The 6-foot-5 wing burst onto the national scene with a breakout performance. It was the kind of effort that had to strike fear into Richmond, Sam Houston State and North Colorado -- the only three programs that have offered Caruso. Those three are likely to have company soon.

Alex Caruso
Alex Caruso won't be under the radar for much longer.

Caruso's an athletic wing with bounce and major game. When he went up and dunked left-handed in transition, he put an exclamation point on his performance. He knows this is a big summer for him and last weekend was just the beginning.

"It's my coming out party," Caruso said. "I gotta play and play and play and stay healthy."

Caruso is the son of Mike Caruso, a former Creighton player and current associate athletic director at Texas A&M. His father once coached under Eddie Sutton and Alex even grew up as a ball boy for the Aggies. Naturally, he's got an affinity for the program. However, former Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon did not offer Caruso a scholarship before leaving to take over for Gary Williams at Maryland, and the Aggies could have missed a golden opportunity because Caruso freely admits the Aggies would have been tough to turn down.

"I'm kind of biased towards A&M to start with," said Caruso.

Billy Kennedy is the new man in College Station and odds are his big July job is to find out if Caruso fits his master plan. We imagine there will be a lunch or two with Caruso's pop on the topic of his son becoming an Aggie.

Because of his father, Caruso can spot an honest recruiting pitch from a snake oil salesman a mile away. Whoever comes at him -- Arizona State and Colorado like him -- better bring it, because this kid is sharp and having a dad in college athletics helps.

"It gives me an in-depth look at it," said Caruso. "Even the stuff I would have no clue with if he wasn't in the basketball world; different factors that I would have to look at and things that coaches say and what they really mean. It gives me a better inside look."

Creighton will have a chance to offer him a scholarship face to face in the near future. Caruso and his father are going to attend the College World Series and then make an unofficial to the Bluejays.

No matter what happens or what level Caruso settles into this summer, he's put himself into position to be evaluated by every high-major school seeking a wing athlete with a creator's game, strong pedigree, good leadership skills, desire to win and finisher's approach. The Pangos All-American Camp was the beginning of what could be a fun summer ride.

He's no longer under the radar and his biggest test to date is on the horizon. Caruso's play earned him an invite to the NBA Top 100 Camp June 15-19. Few will recognize him at the start of camp and so far, but that shouldn't matter because he's done just fine for himself flying under the radar.

Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at espndt@gmail.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.