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I arrived 45 minutes before Australia’s game against Latvia and found a seat near Coach Soderberg, just in time to watch Mali pull of an upset against Canada. During the 4th quarter, Mali’s bench players were leading “De-Fence! De-Fence!” chants. I haven’t seen players doing organized cheers for their own team outside of girl’s softball. I dug it. After the game, Mali’s coach took Canada’s aside and gave him his business card--talk about a great time to network.

Maryland’s Coach Turgeon passed us on his way out of the arena after Canada-Mali and talked with Coach Soderberg for a minute. Turgeon said it was easier to get international players to commit than Americans, and regarding our national championship: “Glad the good guys won.”

Latvia-Canada featured the two largest fan bases I’ve seen, a few dozen per side. The Latvians banged a drum and repeated one cheer throughout, even as their team got crushed. The Australians blew on a few horns and kept the “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oy! Oy! Oy!” cheer going. After the game, I watched half of New Zealand vs. Senegal, which was really low quality. New Zealand has a 16-year-old who is one of the few players here who hasn’t committed to a college team or signed a pro contract, and we do have that Kirk Penny-Jack Salt pipeline…

New Zealand team does the haka before their game

At halftime, I split a cab with Coach Soderberg to the other arena to watch Argentina-Philippines. The Filipinos were shriekers. Whenever the team made a good play, there was a shriek. Also whenever they missed a shot, there was a shriek. Maybe the shrieks meant different things, but I couldn’t distinguish the sounds. Coach Soderberg said Kihei said that Filipinos are crazy for basketball, and that seemed to be the case. It has definitely been cool to see different fan bases cheer in wildly different ways than we are used to seeing in America. There is one constant though. According to every country’s fans, the refs are jobbing their team.

After the Argentina game, I spotted a taxi outside the arena, but the driver was waiting for whoever had ordered it. When two Team France assistant coaches appeared, I asked if Coach Soderberg and I could grab the last two seats, and they agreed. It was an interesting conversation in the car because the coaches knew who London Perrantes is since he played for two French teams last season and know a bit about the American college basketball system and which French players are in it. One exchanged cards with Coach Soderberg because he would like info on American players who are not quite NBA material and will play overseas, and Coach Soderberg wants info on French teenagers who would consider playing college ball in America. If a France-UVA pipeline opens up, I want 10% of the credit for getting us in that car!

Stattmann Stats, Info, and Time Stamps

Kody started and played 17:27 (FIBA games are 40 minutes). This is about half what he played yesterday. The difference? This was a blowout and yesterday was a nail biter.

Australia won by 29, and was +10 with Kody on the court.

If Australia wins tomorrow versus Mali, standings in the group will come to point differential. This blowout helped that, so they would likely be #1 in the group, though could technically be as low as #3. If they lose, they are likely #3 in the group. All teams advance to the knockout round, but finishing better should mean an easier path to the title.

Kody was 3-6 on 2s, 0-4 on 3s and didn’t attempt a FT. He also had 1 TO. That’s 6 points ending 11 possessions, .545 PPP, which is abysmal.

Kody took 27.8% of the shots while he was on the court, a little down from yesterday but still heavy usage. It’s encouraging to me that Australia wants him to keep shooting.

The rest of his stats: 2 RB (1 OR, 1 DR), 1 A, 2 S, 3 B, and 1 TO.

I saw more of the same from Kody. He struggled shooting the 3, but I am sure that is a sample size thing. When he drove, he looked like he didn’t know how to attack and finish efficiently. He had three wonky drives that ended in a miss at the rim, a missed floater, and a defensive foul that bailed him out because he had just lost control of the ball.

On defense, he had three blocks, which is awesome and shows that he has more length than our previous shooters. But he also got blown by once and fouled a three point shooter.

I think his absolute ceiling for next year is something like Kyle Guy’s freshman year, but I don’t think that’s a likely scenario. A likely scenario to me is something like 5-10 minutes a game as the last rotation player, a few big scoring nights where he hits three or four 3s, a lot of nights with no points or even no minutes, and being minus on defense. But he’s a Hoo, and I assume he’s working hard with the coaches and his teammates, so I will hope for Kyle Guy’s freshman season.

Australia plays Mali in their third game, a team of long athletes that upset Canada. I’ll be interested to see how Kody fares against guys that look like ACC athletes (although mostly lack ACC polish and basketball IQ.)

Kody Time Stamps to go along with this video of the game:

1st quarter

9:35 offensive rebound and bucket

9:08 fouls a 3P shooter

8:06 his man gets an OR

7:52 turns it over, but then steals it back

 

2nd quarter

8:48 good transition D

7:26 draws offensive foul

6:45 low % drive that results in a miss

6:42 Australia runs a set out-of-bounds play to get Kody a look at 3 (miss)

5:26 drive plus floater miss, almost gets OR

5:00 gets blown by but bailed out by end of shot clock

4:27 block!

4:07 finishes a fast break with an alley oop dunk!

3:35 looked lost on D

 

3rd quarter

9:10 block, score, steal sequence

6:25 drives and loses ball but gets bailed out by foul call

 

Caffaro Stats, Info, and Time Stamps

Papi started and played 20:45. His minutes were limited by cramping early in the first quarter and a stable lead in the 4th quarter. The coach sent him to the scorer’s table with 7:11 left in the game, pulled him back when Argentina scored a few buckets, and then finally put him in with 4:28 left when Philippines made it a 9 point game.

Argentina beat Philippines by 5 and was +7 with Papi on the court.

Papi was 4-7 on 2s and 1-2 on FTs. He also had 1 TO. That’s 9 points ending 9 possessions, for 1 PPP, which is adequate. 

Papi took 20.5% of the shots while he was on the court--ie just over his fair share. I was hoping for more shots since Argentina’s best player got injured last game and didn’t play this game, and the Philippines was hardly beefy down low.

Papi had 6 DR and 3 B, a big improvement on his per minute rebounding from last game.

Papi can be a beast down low; he just isn’t doing it consistently yet. Both games he started out on fire--from memory a quick 3-4 in game 1 and 3-3 in game 2 in his first quarter stints, which I think totalled around 8 minutes. In both games, he was much less aggressive and effective afterwards. My guess is a mix of small sample size and today’s cramps, but it is something to keep an eye on. Maybe his conditioning isn’t there yet. That wouldn’t be a huge problem because he figures to be behind Diakite and Huff in minutes.

I really like Papi’s rim protection. It is much more in the Salt mode than the Diakite mode. Diakite we see make spectacular blocks. As Coach Soderberg said, “Sometimes in the ACC you need a guy who can block a ball at the top of the box (on the backboard.) Diakite can do that.” Salt couldn’t do that but was in the right position, strong, and jumping straight up with two hands up. Papi’s rim protection is more like that but with extra blocks. 

Papi already seems good at avoiding fouls too. In game 1, he had two quick ones in two minutes in the second quarter, but finished with just those 2 in 34 minutes. In game 2, he also had just 2 fouls in 21 minutes, although one was for an illegal screen, the kind of foul Jack was prone to get. He seems way ahead of our past bigs in the area of playing without picking up fouls.

I think the ceiling for Papi next year is passing Huff on the depth chart and maybe even starting. I think a more likely scenario is being the first big off the bench, averaging about 15 minutes a game and providing some scoring and some good defense with plenty of lapses in all categories as you’d expect from a freshman. I definitely think he’ll be a star for us in the ACC and UVA’s first real post threat in many years--though I can’t say whether that will be his sophomore or senior year.

Papi Time Stamps to go along with this video of the game:

1st quarter

9:50 post move and score. Soderberg quote: “It didn’t seem like much, but that was huge. He took his time. Going against Jack really helped.”

9:10 post move and score

8:10 running in transition makes a nice finish

 

2nd quarter

9:03 gets ball, loses it, gets it back, misses

5:18 illegal screen

 

3rd quarter

9:45 another play designed for Papi ends in points, both halfs started with a post feed

8:47 block

8:10 gets blocked

6:29 block

4:50 misses a DR he needs to get

 

4th quarter

Misses a DR and picks up a foul on the play

Surprising he was on the court at all at the end of the game with his FT shooting, but was always far away from the ball

 

On October 21, 2019, HOOS Place presents "A New Pursuit", the 2019-20 Virginia Basketball Season Preview, featuring player scouting reports, ACC team reports, features and more! Click for more info.