As a child growing up in Bryan-College Station, Alex Caruso always looked forward to Texas A&M basketball camp.
He idolized former Aggie greats such as DeAndre Jordan, Acie Law and Joseph Jones and relished the moments he had within their attention.
“I remember my favorite part was always watching them play the open run five-on-five when the players would play at the end of the night,” he said. “I would always make sure I was front row for that.”
Monday, the former Aggie guard and current Los Angeles Laker brought that same joy to 58 Brazos Valley children as his first basketball camp tipped off at Allen Academy.
“Just getting a bunch of kids together and being able to just roll out the balls for a couple of hours and just hoop was something I’ve always wanted to do,” Caruso said.
Caruso recently inked a two-year deal worth $5.5 million, which will end his days of floating between the main Lakers squad and South Bay Lakers of the NBA G-League. Also, without a need to participate in the NBA’s summer league in Las Vegas, he used this week to give back to his hometown.
“I’ve always wanted to plan on doing, I’ve always planed on doing, and finally I’m at the point in my career where I can kind of settle down in the summer and have the time and ability to do it.”
As each camper collected a maroon A&M ball and took their place in stretching lines, Caruso’s family looked on from the bleachers. His father, former A&M athletics director for game management Mike Caruso, said it was special to see his son now on the other side of a local basketball camp.
“He always had a ball in his hand basically growing up and we as a family would do things in the driveway with basketball and some different sports, but his love was the competition and being able to go out and compete and enjoy sports,” Mike Caruso said.
As the first edition of Caruso’s camp got underway, the NBA star tapped back into his experience as a camper to formulate programming, he said. Fun games that taught basketball fundamentals, such as ball movement and communication, broke out instead of rigid drills.
“I was the little crazy kid running around shooting the ball every chance I got,” Caruso said. “They definitely have the same energy that I had.”
This year’s camp runs through Wednesday. Mike Caruso said his son hopes to expand the camp in future years and potentially offer scholarships to organizations that helped develop the NBA player locally.
“It’s great to see him doing well and really enjoying doing something that he loves to do and then giving back and sharing his enthusiasm and hopefully inspiring some youngsters here in the community,” Mike Caruso said.