The Virginia basketball program picked up a late 2017 addition thanks to unexpected scholarship openings when Francesco Badocchi accepted a spot. At least one high school teammate said he thinks the two sides will be a good fit for each other.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, playing at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, said that their high school put a lot of emphasis on defense. Bishop Miege won back-to-back state titles out of its home in Mission Viejo, Kansas.
”We do take it seriously,” Robinson-Earl said. “But personally, I take pride in defense and not letting the person score against me because I just feel like it’s disrespectful if you get scored on by your opponent. … I feel like in general everybody should have that mentality of not letting somebody score on you.”
Son of high school All-American Lester Earl that played part of his college ball at Kansas, Robinson-Earl checked in at 6’9” and 220 pounds at the Top 100 Camp. Part of the class of 2019, he helped his Rockets camp team go undefeated and win the camp tournament title.
At least part of Robinson-Earl’s development was honed against Virginia bound Badocchi. The 6’7”, 215-pound forward used to go head to head with his younger teammate in Bishop practices quite often. With explosiveness that earned him a YouTube nickname of The Human Pogo Stick, those battles helped both players get better on the court.
Badocchi, who is expected to redshirt following knee surgery this summer, showed enough skill and effort to draw the attention of Illinois, UVA, and others late in the recruiting cycle. He scored 21 points in the state championship game and averaged 13.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game as a senior.
”He’s very active,” Robinson-Earl said. ”We always go against each other in practice and that makes each other better. Virginia is getting a great player. He’s an active player.”
Robinson-Earl has watched the UVA program in the tournament over the past several years and has been impressed. He thinks the development at Bishop Miege alongside the defensive mindset of Virginia should make Badocchi a great fit with the Hoos.
”I think Virginia is a great program and I think their coach is very good because I watched them in the tournament the past couple of years and it’s a very good program,” Robinson said.