Wahoo Notebook: Caffaro Prepares For Hoops World Cup

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: UVA Media Relations

Virginia basketball fans have spent the last year with curiosity about redshirt freshman center Francisco Caffaro.

The seven-foot center from Santa Fe, Argentina, was sidelined for the national championship season due to knee surgery, but ended up practicing with the team once he was healthy. He will be ready to go this fall, but as a warmup, Caffaro is back in Argentina as a member of his country’s FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup team.

Argentina qualified for the 13th time in 14 attempts and it is depending on Caffaro to take his country to the World Cup promised land. For the Cavalier postman, the upcoming international play will be reinvigorating.

“It was hard [sitting out last season for UVA],” Caffaro told FIBA Buenos Aires. “At the beginning I didn’t really think about it because I was focusing on my recovery as I had knee surgery, but as I started to practice again, it became harder just to sit on the bench and watch the games without even playing.”

While it was frustrating being unable to contribute to the Cavaliers’ march to the national title, the young Argentine — affectionately known as “Big Papi” — did pick up some valuable lessons.

“I learned lots of things, but something that I learned and will be able to help [Argentina] for the U19 World Cup, is playing as a team,” said the big man. “Not many college teams play as a team. There is lots of one-on-one, and Virginia has shown the past few years that playing as a team at both ends works. This year was the year that got us the title, but it’s something that has been working for a few years already.”

When Argentina gets to Greece, its team will be in the Group C pool with host Greece, Russia, and the Philippines. If it is successful in its own pool, there is a potential matchup against Australia and fellow UVA player Kody Stattmann, who is on the Aussies’ squad.

“I’m looking forward for that one,” Caffaro said. “I really hope we get to play them.”

Caffaro said he knows most of the Australian team, who he became acquainted with during the NBA Academy in Australia the past two years.

The Argentinian team should be stronger than last year’s squad, which was matched against Canada and the United States, and came up short.

“There are no expectations,” Caffaro said about the upcoming play. “I think we have a very good team and could do very good. It’s basketball, anything can happen. All I know is that we’re going to give our 100 percent every time we step on the floor. When you give 100 percent every time, the result doesn’t matter because you know you did your best.”


New Wahoo Offers

According to sources, Virginia has offered Max Christie, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard from the Chicago area (Class of 2021).

Christie participated in the NBA Top 100 Camp at UVA’s John Paul Jones Arena last week, and apparently picked up offers from both the Cavaliers and Villanova. He had already been offered by Michigan, Iowa, Purdue, Wisconsin, Illinois, Northwestern, Baylor and DePaul, among others, and has strong interest from Duke.

Also, the ‘Hoos extended a scholarship offer to Efton Reid, a 7-foot rising junior out of the Steward School in Richmond. Reid, who also holds offers from Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona State, Old Dominion, Rutgers, and a few others, is regarded as a consensus 4-star prospect. Stay tuned.


Morsell Makes the Cut

Virginia basketball signee Casey Morsell, out of St. John’s College High School in D.C., was one of 18 players to make the cut for the USA basketball’s U19 World Cup team.

The finalists will continue to train twice a day at the Colorado Springs facility before the final team of 12 players will move forward to World Cup competition.

According to reports, the UVA guard is tearing it up in the Team USA training camp.


Wahoo Football Commits

The Cavaliers have picked up two more football commitments from the 2020 Class: safety Donovan Johnson from Harvey, Louisiana; and wide receiver Sam Brady of Lincolnton, N.C. Brady can also play tight end or linebacker.

Johnson is a 6-2, 185, and chose UVA over Miami, Houston, West Virginia, Arkansas, Baylor, Indiana, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Colorado and others. He is a 3-star prospect.

Johnson said that UVA co-defensive coordinator Nick Howell told him that he could play any of the secondary positions — corner, strong safety or free safety.

Brady is a 6-4, 200-pounder, who worked at both linebacker spots in UVA’s camp this week. He met with Cavaliers’ head coach Bronco Mendenhall at the end of his workouts and was offered immediately.

Brady is UVA’s seventh commitment.


Three of a Kind

This nugget from our pal Danny Neckel:

Virginia’s senior quarterback Bryce Perkins is one of three returning quarterbacks from a Power 5 conference that posted at least 30 touchdowns and 3,500 yards of total offense last season.

The other two? Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, and Texas’ Sam Ehlinger.


  1. Bill Wade says:

    Really looking forward to seeing him play this season.

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