Big games for Caffaro, McKoy in UVA win over North Carolina

uva basketballThe strength of the Virginia basketball team to this stage has been its bigs. The bigs are now stronger by an order of two.

Francisco Caffaro, a 7’0” redshirt freshman, had his coming-out party Sunday in the Cavaliers’ 56-47 win over seventh-ranked North Carolina, scoring 10 points and snaring seven rebounds in 20 minutes of floor time.

Justin McKoy, a 6’8” freshman, had four points and five rebounds in 17 minutes.

The two helped UVA outrebound the usually glass-dominant Tar Heels 37-32.

And on a night when Jay Huff, who had been averaging 10.4 points per game coming in, went scoreless, what they had to offer on the offensive end: important.

“I thought Francisco and Justin were good because of their effort and their heart. They were setting some good screens, and then Francisco was on the glass offensively and so was Justin,” coach Tony Bennett said.

Caffaro we’re going to call Jack Salt 2.0, in part because Caffaro acknowledged the role that Salt, the four-year contributor and key member of the 2019 national-title team, played in his development in his redshirt season last year.

The young big has more to his game, particularly offensively, with a nice low-post game and confidence in his ability to score in the paint.

But at his core, it’s his physicality that sets him apart.

“That’s just the way I always play,” Caffaro said. “I try to be physical, and as soon as I started playing basketball that was just me. Every time I get a few minutes, one minute or five minutes, I give the best to my team.”

McKoy is just energy, pure energy. It wasn’t necessarily expected that he would be much of a contributor coming into the season, but the true freshman is earning his minutes.

“Coach, during this week and last week, just challenged me to keep bringing energy and keep being tough. Just to bring that to the team, and I think it is a pretty natural part of my game,” McKoy said.

Story by Chris Graham


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