Argentinian center Francisco Caffaro and Alabama transfer forward Braxton Key have officially signed with the University of Virginia, Cavalier head coach Tony Bennett announced in a press release Friday (May 18).
Caffaro, a 7’0”, 233-pound prospect, signed a letter of intent during Division 1 men’s basketball’s Regular Signing Period, which ended on Wednesday, May 16. He joins California point guard Kihei Clark and Australian wing Kody Stattmann as Virginia’s three incoming first year scholarship players.
Caffaro, a native of El Trebo, Sante Fe, Argentina, becomes one of the first graduates of the NBA Global Academy to sign with an NCAA program. He attended the Canberra, Australia location the past two years.
Key signed a financial aid agreement with UVA, where he decided to transfer spending the first two years of his collegiate career at the University of Alabama. The Charlotte (N.C.) native, a relative of legendary Cavalier player Ralph Sampson, will have to sit out the upcoming season due to NCAA Division 1 transfer rules but will have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in the 2019/2020 season.
Key, who is listed by Virginia as being 6’8”, 225 pounds, earned All-SEC Freshman team honors in 2016/2017, when he averaged 12 points and almost 6 rebounds per game for the Crimson Tide. The consensus 4-star recruit out of Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, VA) and Christ Presbyterian (Nashville, TN) averaged 14 points per game in SEC play his freshman campaign.
A knee injury and subsequent surgery sidelined Key for the first 10 games of his sophomore season. He returned to average 7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 26 games his second year in Tuscaloosa. A plus athlete with length and size, Key is seen as a likely replacement for De’Andre Hunter should Hunter head off to the NBA following the 2018/2019 season.
“We are excited to welcome Francisco and Braxton into the Virginia men’s basketball family,” Bennett said. “These young men bring size, talent and competitiveness to our program.”
Virginia still has one open scholarship spot remaining for the upcoming season. Should the Hoos add any other scholarship players, look for him to be a grad-transfer in the backcourt. If the 2018/2019 roster stays as-is, it will look like this (scholarship players only) …
Point Guards: Ty Jerome (Jr), Kihei Clark (Fr)
Wings: Kyle Guy (Jr), Marco Anthony (Soph), Kody Stattmann (Fr)
Combo Forwards (Wing/Post): De’Andre Hunter (R-Soph), Braxton Key (Jr, Ineligible to play due to NCAA Division 1 transfer rules)
Posts: Jack Salt (R-Sr), Mamadi Diakite (R-Jr), Jay Huff (R-Soph), Francesco Badocchi (R-Fr), Francisco Caffaro (Fr)