Virginia fans knew little of Argentinian big man Francisco Caffaro when he committed to Coach Bennett and the Cavaliers. Over the past week, Caffaro competed with Argentina in the FIBA U18 Americas Championship, helping his team to a third place finish.
Argentina started off their tournament against Canada, who features some mid-to-high major talent on their roster and were considered one of the teams that could challenge the US team. Caffaro went off for 22 points on 9-for-15 shooting to go with seven rebounds as the Argentinian squad fell 92-75 to the Canadians.
Haciendo un poco de todo! #FIBAU18Americas— Juan Manuel (@JuaneMeDiMarco) June 10, 2018
Frente a un equipo que tiene varios jugadores más altos y pesados, @fcaffaro123 aportó estos 22 puntos (9/15 TC) + 7 rebotes + 2 tapas + 1 asist. en 30 minutos para @cabboficial. pic.twitter.com/dI9cvyZ5gG
In game two against Chile, Caffaro notched a double-double in a 76-66 win. He scored 20 points and grabbed 15 rebounds — including seven offensive rebounds — as Argentina picked up their first win of the tournament.
Dominante en la pintura! #FIBAU18Americas— Juan Manuel (@JuaneMeDiMarco) June 12, 2018
El pivote de Argentina fue determinante en el triunfo de @cabboficial hoy. @fcaffaro123 terminó con 20pts +15reb (8def/7of) + 2ast + 1 tapa, en 36 minutos que estuvo en cancha.
Acá su partidazo! pic.twitter.com/ZrRm7GcgDp
Argentina dominated Ecuador 82-61 in their third game, which was relatively quiet for Caffaro. He finished with just seven points and seven rebounds, but attempted just four shots. Despite playing just 24 minutes, he had a +/- of 19.
In the quarterfinals, Argentina dominated the Dominican Republic to the tune of 87-70. For the second straight game, Caffaro had a limited impact with fewer minutes, scoring seven points and pulling in eight rebounds in 21 minutes. He took just four shots for the second straight game, but didn’t play much of the second half.
Caffaro and Argentina squared off against the United States in the semifinals, falling 104-92. Against the toughest competition he faced in the tournament, Caffaro scored 22 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field and a 10-for-12 performance from the line.
Fran y otro partidazo! #FIBAU18Americas— Juan Manuel (@JuaneMeDiMarco) June 16, 2018
En la semifinal de ayer de Argentina vs USA, @fcaffaro123 tuvo otro excepcional juego. Terminó con (estos ) 22 puntos (6/9t2, 10/12t1), 6 rebotes, 4 asistencias y 2 tapas para @cabboficial.
Argentina topped Puerto Rico 87-79 in the bronze medal match, led by Caffaro’s second double-double of the tournament. He finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds — leading the team in both categories — as Argentina finished strong. With the win, Argentina qualified for the 2019 FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup which will take place next summer.
Fran otra vez decisivo! #FIBAU18Americas— Juan Manuel (@JuaneMeDiMarco) June 17, 2018
En el juego de ayer, @fcaffaro123 aportó otro doble-doble (el 2do en el torneo) con estos 21pts+10reb para @cabboficial.
Infernal torneo para nuestro pivote que promedió 16,7pts (5to en el torneo) y 8,8reb (2do máximo rebotero) por partido pic.twitter.com/mtdfvHJ0ng
Caffaro finished the event averaging 16.7 points (5th overall in the tournament) and 8.8 rebounds (second best in the event) per game. He shot 49% from the field and 64% from the line. For his efforts, Caffaro earned a spot on the all-tournament team alongside three players from the US squad and one Canadian player.
El mejor quinteto del torneo tiene sabor universitario:— Esperando Marzo (@esperandomarzo) June 17, 2018
Quentin Grimes (Kansas)
Andrew Nembhard (Florida)
Coby White (North Carolina)
Francisco Caffaro (Virginia)
Cole Anthony (Undecided) pic.twitter.com/fGQyN9C2eC
The other four members of the All-Tournament team — Quentin Grimes (Kansas), Andrew Nembhard (Florida), Coby White (UNC), and Cole Anthony — are all five-star rated recruits by 247Sports. After his stellar performance, 247Sports bumped the previously unrated Caffaro to a four-star recruit.
While his numbers are impressive on their own, the bigger takeaway is the variety and versatility Caffaro showed in his game. At 7-0, 215 pounds, Caffaro brings length and physicality to the game. He’s still lean, but has a frame that Mike Curtis can build upon. You’d have to expect him to redshirt a season as he is behind Jack Salt, Mamadi Diakite, Jay Huff and Francesco Baddochi on the depth chart, but he’s poised to become a huge asset for the Hoos.
Throughout the tournament, he showcased the ability to play strong in the post, create for himself, finish at the rim, pass out, and play solid defense. His nose for the basket was evident, and caught the ball surely and strongly in the post, something that Virginia fans will be happy to see on offense.
Caffaro, who committed to the Cavaliers on May 1 out of the NBA Global Academy, will be joined by Kihei Clark and Kody Stattmann as newcomers to the Virginia basketball roster this season. Clark and Stattman have already arrived on Grounds, ready to start preparing for the 2018-19 season.