Most underrated player in the NBA? Try Alex Caruso




TOP OF THE TOWN – Is Alex Caruso the most underrated player in the NBA? Caruso doesn’t get many minutes for the Lakers, but when he does you notice him. A 26-year-old prospect that played college ball at Texas A&M and wasn’t drafted, Caruso drifted about until signing with the Oklahoma City Blue of the D League (now the G League) where he played two seasons and averaging over 50 games 11.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.2 steals. The 6-foot-5 Caruso is balding and is often called “Bald Eagle.” He is a sneaky rebounder with quickness that often catches defenders off-guard. Caruso is also a very good passer. I guess you can say the Bald Eagle swoops in at unexpected moments to catch people unawares. …Former Washington Husky receiver John Ross still is the Golden Flash of the NFL Combine for electronic timing. Ross ran a 4.22 in the 40 in 2017 and is now on the Cincinnati Bengals’ roster. Alabama receiver Henry Ruggs III had hoped to break Ross’ record at this year’s combine, but could only get down to 4.27, which still moved heads of the scouts in attendance. The all-time record is held by legendary Bo Jackson, who ran a 4.12 hand-held time in 1986. … TV and radio talking heads like to make fun of punters because they risk little of their body in a game that is so violent. But Arizona State punter Michael Tucker showed them. He bench-pressed 225 pounds 25 times at the Combine. To put that in proper perspective, Jadeveon Clowney did 21 reps of 225 in 2014. I might as well add in myself. When I was going good, which was about 15 years ago, I did 11 reps at 225 pounds. I remember that I was out-lifting Kevin Sargent, former left tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals who started out at East Bremerton High School and on some days was in the bench-press next to me at the Bremerton Family YMCA. … How many of you are banking on San Diego State and Dayton making a deep run in March Madness?  The Aztecs of San Diego State have former Washington State Cougar standout Malachi Flynn leading the way. The 6-foot-1 Flynn was outstanding at WSU and has continued his excellence with the Aztecs, averaging 16.9 points, five assists and nearly two steals a game. But I saw the Aztecs play and I’m not sold on them. Dayton has Obi Toppin and the Flyers, although unappreciated out West, have been stable of upper-class power for as long as I have been around. I spent the first 14 years of my life in New York State and I’m a big fan of St. Bonaventure basketball. The Bonnies and Dayton used to have a good rivalry going on and the Flyers got the upper hand more than I would have liked. Toppin, a 6-9 redshirt sophomore from Brooklyn, leads the Flyers in scoring (19.7), rebounds (7.7) and blocks (37). I wouldn’t discount the Flyers from making a deep run, especially considering there doesn’t seem to be one or two teams that are head and shoulder above everybody else. I’ve seen some of the Big East teams play and believe that might be where the 2020 NCAA champion resides. Those teams play tough and are very talented. They beat on each other during the regular season, but I would look out for Seton Hall (Myles Powell is one of my favorite players), Villanova and Creighton.  Powell is 6-2 senior from Trenton, NJ who is averaging nearly 22 points a game despite being hounded like a rabbit being chased by hunting dogs. He’s always double-teamed. I must put an asterisk next to my observations because when I saw Auburn and LSU go into overtime several weeks ago I thought, ‘Holy Cow, these two teams are incredibly good.” LSU lost that battle with Auburn 91-90 and LSU’s Sklar Mays, a 6-4 senior guard poured in 30 points. LSU has gone 2-3 since that defeat, losing to Kentucky, Alabama and Florida. Auburn has gone 3-2 since that win, losing to Missouri and Georgia. So I’m up in the air about Auburn and LSU, not quite sure what to believe. I do believe that the Pac-12 is weak. I’m not sold on anybody in the conference. I watch the Big East teams and think any one of their teams would win the Pac-12 title. That’s enough for today. Stay calm in the face of the spreading Coronavirus.

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