Maybe it was fate that steered Serra-San Mateo senior Henry Caruso toward the sport of basketball. When he was a sophomore, Caruso broke a wrist playing baseball, causing him to miss the junior varsity season. Caruso turned his focus to basketball and it has paid off with an invitation to join the Princeton University men's basketball team next year.
"I'm very pleased that Henry will play for Princeton," Serra basketball coach Chuck Rapp said. "He will be an excellent fit there, both athletically and academically. It just shows that hard work pays off. Henry is one of the most competitive players I have ever coached. His effort, hard work and dedication has made the Padre Nation proud. Good things do happen to good people."
Caruso visited Princeton on Oct. 21, making a verbal commitment then to head east. It became official once he cleared admissions Oct. 29.
"I loved the coaches and the basketball atmosphere there," said Caruso, a first-team all-Daily News and all-West Catholic Athletic League selection as a junior. "They have a rich tradition in basketball. They're always competitive in the Ivy League. I wanted to go to a program where I'll have a chance to play in the NCAA tournament. I'll have opportunities on the court and in the classroom."
Caruso boasts a weighted 3.90 GPA, scoring 1,920 on his SATs. His father went to Santa Clara University, while his mother went to Georgetown University.
"I had no family that went to
While Caruso was on his visit, he got to meet former Princeton basketball coach Pete Carril, who headed the Tigers' program from 1967 to 1996. His final year, Carril staged one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history when the Tigers stunned defending NCAA champ UCLA 43-41. Carril went on to become an assistant for the Sacramento Kings.
"Pete Carill is a Hall of Fame coach," Caruso said. "When he says something, you listen."
Caruso is a tireless worker in the interior for the Padres, but at 6-foot-4, he may be playing small forward, or even two-guard, for the Tigers.
"I want to be versatile," Caruso said. "Maybe I can take advantage of a smaller defender inside or guard someone out on the wing."
Though Ivy League athletes do not sign letters-of-intent, Caruso won't be swayed to go elsewhere, if given another choice.
"I gave them my word and I'll abide by it," Caruso said.