Bennett Announces Signing Of Francesco Badocchi

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UVA class of 2017 signee Francesco Badocchi

Francesco Badocchi is officially a Virginia Cavalier. UVA men’s basketball coach Tony Bennett announced the signing of the 6’7”, 195-pound senior forward in a press release Thursday, May 11.

“We are pleased to add Francesco to our 2017 recruiting class,” Bennett said in the release, which you can read in full by clicking here. “Francesco is a talented forward with good length and athleticism. He and his family value education, and I know Francesco’s excited about playing at UVA and competing in the ACC.”

A native of Milan, Italy, Badocchi has lived with an aunt and uncle in Kansas the past two years while attending Bishop Miege High School (Mission Viejo, KS). He earned Division 4A first-team all-state honors as a senior, averaging 13.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per contest. Badocchi helped Bishop Miege to consecutive Division 4A state championships in 2015/2016 and 2016/2017.

“Number one, he was kind of under-the-radar and one of the reasons is he doesn’t play AAU basketball,” Bishop Miege head coach Rick Zych said of Badocchi, who boasts a 7’0” wing span. “We’ve all known he is a good player, but he ended [the 2015/2016 season] with a knee injury and went home to nurse that injury. He came back and had a great year. He was the MVP of the state tournament.”

“He was always very talented,” Zych continued. “He got bigger and stronger. He had the knee injury and fought off that. He’s so coachable. We had him and a couple other kids with some size. We were fortunate to have him. He can pass. He’s athletic and long. I think what schools like is he can cover 1 through 5. He’ll defend you. He certainly changes shots at rim. He works hard. He doesn’t think knows everything. Really for us, getting him was a pleasant surprise. And when you meet him, you automatically like him.”

Badocchi took official visits to Illinois and Virginia before making his commitment to the Cavaliers on Sunday, April 30, following a conversation with Bennett and assistant coach Ron Sanchez. Although he expects to redshirt, Badocchi likes that UVA’s head coach sees him as a potential “defensive pillar” and appreciates that Bennett will provide him the freedom to score from the perimeter and in the post.

UVA’s academics — Badocchi is interested in International Business and Music — and Grounds impressed, too.

“When we went around campus, it blew me away because I had never seen anything like it,” Badocchi said of UVA in this “Q&A” feature with TheSabre.com. “We have a house in the mountains in Italy and it kind of reminded me of that, but there was greenery everywhere. The Lawn, all of the schools, they were great.”

“I went to the business school and the music school. Business is what I want to major in. The McIntire School blew me away. I’ve never seen anything like that. I loved the music school, too. Other than basketball, I’ve been playing piano since I was four. I got to see the auditorium and play some piano where they said Martin Luther King made a speech.”

Virginia will have at least three newcomers this fall in Badocchi, San Antonio wing Marco Anthony, who is also a high school seniors, and Rutgers graduate transfer guard Nigel Johnson. The Hoos have two scholarship spots still open for the 2017/2018 season.

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