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Global Game: Argentinian center Francisco Caffaro commits to Virginia Basketball

Virginia picked up a surprise commitment Tuesday from Argentinian center Francisco Caffaro, who is part of the NBA’s Global Academy in Australia and potentially rounds out the 2018 recruiting class for the Cavaliers.

The recruitment of Caffaro, who joins Australian Kody Stattmann and California point guard Kihei Clark in the class, seemed to come together quite quickly. Word is, UVA coach Tony Bennett had to leave a Virginia Athletic Foundation function early on Monday night because of the arrival of Caffaro, who reportedly chose the Cavs over Georgia Tech, Pitt, Oregon and St. Mary’s, on an official visit.

The visit turned into a commitment in less than 24 hours.

Caffaro is certainly an interesting pickup for the Wahoos for a few reasons. For one, there’s always some intrigue surrounding a 7-foot prospect and Caffaro, who weighs 220 pounds, appears to have good mobility and stamina.

He also adds yet another international player to the UVA roster, most of whom seemingly came out of nowhere with little hype. The Cavaliers will enter next season with players from Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and Guinea. So far, Jack Salt and Mamadi Diakite have turned into solid producers and could make up two-thirds of the starting front court next season while redshirt freshman Francesco Badocchi (who thankfully goes by Frankie possibly helping avoid any future confusion) could get serious minutes.

Caffaro, who is just 17, may not be ready to jump right into ACC competition next season, meaning all three members of the 2018 class are potential redshirt candidates, but it is easy to see why Bennett and his staff like his upside. Looking around the internet for scouting videos of the big fella and the improvement from two years ago to this spring is remarkable.

Virginia continues to target multiple big men in the classes of 2019 and 2020, but adding Caffaro for next season might add to speculation about Jay Huff’s future. Huff redshirted his first year and showed some flashes of his offensive and shot blocking ability in brief appearances this season.

Huff got into just 12 games, averaging 8.8 minutes, and while this offseason should have been a key one for the Durham, N.C., product to continue to learn Bennett’s Pack Line Defense, he is set to miss 3-4 months after tearing is labrum just before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

It’s not exactly clear how long the right shoulder injury could affect Huff. Similar injuries have lingered with athletes for long periods, yet New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis once said he played at an All-Star level with a torn labrum in his left shoulder for three years.

Whatever the case, the injury could slow Huff’s development and now Virginia has another 7-foot shot-blocker who could threaten to steal playing time from a guy who not long ago was one of UVA’s most exciting prospects.

 

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