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Virginia commit Francisco Caffaro excels at FIBA U18 Americas Championship

Argentinian big man bumped up to a four-star recruit after outstanding performance.

NBL Next Gen Camp Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.