Stattmann, Caffaro talk growth in summer abroad

kody stattmannKody Stattmann had not played in front of more than a couple hundred people before the 2018 UVA Basketball Blue-White Scrimmage.

He might have had a case of stagefright kick in when he stepped onto the floor at JPJ for pregame warmups.

“I asked Kody, what do you think? I think he said, I don’t think I can feel my legs right now,” coach Tony Bennett said.

Stattmann, a 6’7” wing player from Australia, played 73 largely garbage-time minutes in 2018-2019, getting double-digit minutes just twice, Nov. 16 against Coppin State and Dec. 3 against Morgan State, when he scored nine points on 2-for-4 shooting in 12 minutes in an 83-45 ‘Hoos win.

He got some valuable experience in the summer playing for Team Australia in the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup, in which he put up 10.3 points per game on 46.5 percent shooting against international competition.

“Just getting back to the feel of the game, playing a lot of minutes, especially, boosted my confidence. The experience of playing on the big stage again helped me a lot. I think coming into this year, getting a chance to play more has just really helped me with my confidence,” Stattmann said.

His focus in his first year on Grounds was on getting bigger and stronger. Stattmann said he has put on 20 pounds since arriving at UVA last summer.

“Being here, they’re a lot of bigger athletes, more athletic, stronger,” Stattmann said. “Internationally, they play a lot of sets, not much up-and-down, quick stuff, a lot of threes. So, just coming here and getting used to the quick dudes, like, every team, all of the dudes are quick. Getting used to going up against the different types of players is probably the biggest change for me.”

Francisco CaffaroAnother international ‘Hoo, 7’0” redshirt freshman Francisco Caffaro, also got some valuable playing time in the FIBA U19 World Cup, playing for Team Argentina.

Caffaro averaged 7.4 points and 9.0 rebounds per game in the World Cup.

“It definitely helped me,” Caffaro said. “We had a really good team, and we had good competition in the tournament. Just getting to play against good competition helped me a lot, just to get back into it and get ready for this.”

Bennett said Caffaro compares well to four-year contributor Jack Salt in terms of his physicality.

Caffaro looked to Salt as a mentor in his redshirt year.

“I’m going to do a lot of what Jack did during his basketball years here,” Caffaro said. “I like being physical. I like banging around. That’s pretty much what I’m going to do, just try to get people out of the paint, get rebounds, just do whatever they need me to do.”

The decision to redshirt Caffaro last season was due in large part to a leg injury that the big man suffered in the summer of 2018 that required surgery.

Once he was cleared for practice in late December, Salt was waiting for Caffaro, to begin getting him ready for his future.

“Once I got back, he was waiting for me. He knew it was going to happen, that it was going to be us two just banging around. It helped me a lot,” Caffaro said.

Story by Chris Graham



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