Kody Stattmann had a very quiet freshman year at UVA by any standard. He was an unheralded international recruit in a low-profile 2018 class, and given the established wing depth UVA already had going into last season, there were never a ton of expectations placed on him. Many assumed he, like international players before him, would redshirt to acclimate to the US game. Tony was coy about it during the preseason, and so it was some surprise when Kody entered late in a season-opening blowout win over Towson to contribute four uneventful minutes (0-2 from the field, one foul).
It would be ten days later when he'd get his first college bucket (scoring six garbage time points vs Coppin State), and he would be used sparingly over the course of the season.
Ultimately, Stattmann would check into 18 games, all in garbage time, and that total owes a lot to the frequency with which UVA's starters put games away early, including against power programs like FSU and Syracuse, and even in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments.
His totals for the season were a modest 73 minutes played, scoring 30 points on a healthy percentage inside (5 of 6, 83%, when he went to the rim) but a challenging percentage from deep (4 of 15, 27%). The rest of his season stat line included 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 turnovers, a steal, and 8 fouls. Ultimately little can be drawn from this since such a small sample size is at play.
Beyond his limited appearances at UVA, Virginia fans have also gotten to see Stattmann participate on Australia's national squads in the Asia U18 tournament (summer of 2018) and the FIBA U19 World Cup (summer 2019). Kody was a volume scorer for the Aussies though he struggled with shooting efficiency and in some other phases of the game; all told it was at least a growth opportunity on a big stage for the youngster.
He's now back for his sophomore year with a big opportunity in front of him.
What He Brings
Kody is a big scoring wing. It's really that simple. At 6'7" tall, he's got great size for a perimeter shooter which should benefit him on both ends of the floor. His handle is adequate, meaning you can trust him as a perimeter player as opposed to having to "hide" him as a stretch 4, though honestly he's still really lean, under 190 lbs (for comparison's sake, fellow wing De'Andre Hunter is also 6'7" but by his sophomore year weighed in at 225 lbs, so over 35 lbs more mass than Stattmann).
He arrived with a rep as a shooter (and the balance of his shot attempts being 3-pointers bears that out), but occasionally he's shown some good instincts getting to the rim, both during his limited appearances as a freshman and during his international stints. He's not a slasher, but he's fluid enough with quality touch to be able to put the ball on the deck off a hard closeout and occasionally finish in the paint.
His defense is still a work in progress. To some degree, that's going to be an issue until he gets some additional experience. He's not a natural shutdown defender, the instincts and agility maybe a hair behind where you'd like an ACC player to be. But with that said, good positional discipline and system IQ can make up a lot of ground there, especially if paired with other elite defenders to provide help.
What I Would Like To See More
Adequate defense. I have zero expectations of him ever making the all-ACC defensive team. But I don't think it's unfair to ask him to just know his place in the pack line, make good rotations, do his darnedest to stay in front of his assignment without fouling, communicate well, know how to react to ball screens, and display solid fundamentals (low, wide, hands up, all the time). Evan Nolte, who carried more mass than Kody but played a similar role, was able to master his Packline responsibilities so well that he took Justin Anderson's spot at the 3 when Simba missed a month in 2015, beating out the more athletic but less disciplined Marial Shayok for the job, which helped UVA stay elite defensively without the 1st round eraser. Kody, with enough work, can do the same at the 3 for UVA, which will go a long way to letting him alleviate depth concerns in UVA's back court this year.
What I Would Like To See Less
Missed three pointers. For Kody to fulfill his potential to this program, he needs to be an effective floor spacer. The Austrailian committed to UVA known primarily as a lights-out shooter after standout performances at the 2017 Oceana U17s (where he shot 53% from 3 on nearly 9 3PA a game! [stats]) and Adidas Nations (where he got his offer from Tony, shooting 43% on 51 3PA) events. He followed those up with quieter performances in 2018's Asia U18s (31% on just under 6 3PA per game [stats]) and Basketball Without Borders events [highlights]. Over the last 12 months, he's been really cold. We already mentioned his 27% stat line in a UVA uniform last year, but at the U19 World Cup this summer that percentage dropped to just 22% on still-high volume [stats]. If that percentage doesn't rebound to north of 35% at a minimum once he gets into games this year, I'm not certain how much we'll actually see of him.
There's a giant question mark at the wing spots going into this year. With the departures of Jerome, Guy, Hunter, and Marco Anthony, UVA has no proven options for wing shooting/scoring. Kody is being given a very real opportunity to compete with guards Tomas Woldetensae and Casey Morsell, as well as forwards Braxton Key and Justin McKoy, to earn not just minutes but day-to-day scoring responsibilities at the 2 and 3 positions.
It's hard right now to say that it's "expected" that we'll see him emerge from that competition with a substantial role, not unless his defense and shooting can improve and be sustained. But it's definitely something we'll be looking for. Starting positions and 6th man responsibilities are up for grabs on the wings, and Kody will be given every opportunity to seize one of those jobs and hopefully make the most of it.
Three point shooting matters. I mean, duh, right? But this year we see the exodus of a trio of great-shooting perimeter players coupled with the NCAA's extending of the 3-point line, and Virginia enters the season with a ton of question marks regarding just who exactly can be counted on to provide effective floor spacing.
Kody was brought in to be that guy, but his UVA and international results over the last ~15 months have caused very real concern as to whether he'll eventually be able to provide that shooting spark for the Hoos. It's likely this is a now-or-never season for him with next season adding the sharp-shooting trio of Sam Hauser, Jabri Abdur-Rahim, and Carson McCorkle to the roster.
It was always going to be a steep learning curve. Jumping straight into high-level US ball is challenging for any player coming from a relative hoops backwater like Australia, with only the most elite prospects making smooth transitions. The conservative estimate for Stattmann, coming from talking to an NBA scout who watched him at BWB, was that he would need a redshirt year and even then it would be his 3rd year in the program (i.e., next season) before he could realistically be counted on. I say all this to caution some patience and provide perspective if he doesn't explode out of the gate. Feeling a step behind the speed of the game will throw off a player's whole rhythm and confidence, to include the 3-point shot which you would hope is the one thing that would translate with minimal effort.
But the depth chart being what it is, Kody may be baptized by fire here in the coming weeks. The staff expects him to be a contributing member of the rotation this year, and that will mean some rough moments, some struggles, hopefully balanced out by some flashes of promise and confidence-building performances. Those ultimately will then potentially even out as the season wears on, as the game eventually slows down for him, and he settles into a productive rhythm.