Alex Caruso’s Transformation Fueling Texas A&M’s Charge

Posted by Greg Mitchell on January 14th, 2016

Alex Caruso is an accomplished player. The senior guard is so accomplished that it’s not a stretch to say he’s had one of the most impressive careers in Texas A&M basketball history. The active SEC leader in assists and steals has led the conference in both categories each of the past two seasons. That’s one heck of a career. But as this season tipped off, Caruso found himself playing alongside a new teammate who had dished more assists in his college career than even he had.

Alex Caruso's touches are down but he's remained productive (

Alex Caruso’s touches are down but he’s remained productive (

South Florida transfer Anthony Collins joined the program and brought his 569 career assists and a wealth of experience along with him. He became A&M’s primary point guard from day one and Caruso’s touches naturally dropped — as the table below shows, he’s using the fewest number of possessions and shots of his entire career. A new, reduced role would frustrate a lot of established players, but the senior has instead transformed himself into the grease on the wheels of a team charging toward March.

Alex Caruso has transformed in his senior season (stats courtesy

Caruso has transformed himself in his senior season (

Luckily for the Aggies, Caruso’s new role as a key complementary player appears to suit him. He’s shooting 44.4 percent from three — up from a previous career best of 36.6 percent — and he’s still finding ways to create for others (31.1% assist rate) without having the ball quite as much. Furthermore, his hands on defense are as active as ever. When Seth Davis comes out with his All-Glue team, Caruso should be a headliner. His per-game averages don’t jump off the page, but the senior is a crucial part of what looks like a dangerous Texas A&M team. “I’d like to credit Alex Caruso,” Florida coach Mike White said after the Aggies’ 71-68 win on Tuesday. “[He] will just blow up a play. He kind of throws you off your rhythm offensively.”

Caruso deserves credit for a number of big plays late in the Aggies’ last three wins. Against Mississippi State, it was he who found Jalen Jones for the game-winning basket. Against Tennessee, the senior’s multiple steals and deflections fueled Texas A&M’s game-ending 18-4 run. And against the Gators, Caruso raced down the court to punch the ball out of Kasey Hill’s control on a breakaway layup attempt. Through plays both big and small, but always winning, the senior has reinvented himself and is a major part of the Aggies’ success this season.

Greg Mitchell (@gregpmitchell) (231 Posts)

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