Redshirt sophomore Francisco Caffaro played in 20 contests in 2019-20. The rugged center recorded 10 points and seven rebounds in a home win against North Carolina and six points off the bench vs. NC State. Hoos Life caught up the Argentina native and NBA Global Academy graduate to discuss the offseason, return to Grounds and thoughts on the 2020-21 season.
Q: You stayed in Virginia this summer and were unable to go home to Argentina. Where did you live in Charlottesville and how difficult was it no going home to see your family and friends?
Caffaro: I stayed in my apartment the whole time. Not going home to Argentina was hard, since I left about four years ago. In previous years, I have been able to go back to visit every year for about a month. This year I was not able to make it back, which made the whole quarantine thing a bit more difficult.
Q: You have battled injuries in each of your first two years at UVA. How are you feeling, and do you anticipate being healthy this season?
Caffaro: Injuries happen, and nobody knows when they are going to happen. Hopefully this year I won’t have any significant injuries that could prevent me from playing.
Q: What did you do during the pandemic to get yourself ready for the 2020-21 season?
Caffaro: Since I stayed in Charlottesville, I was able to get some equipment from John Paul Jones Arena and get some at-home workouts done. I was also able to shoot and play some basketball at the ACAC, which helped a lot basketball wise.
Q: This is your third year in the Virginia men’s basketball program. What have you learned from the past two seasons that can help you get increased playing time this season?
Caffaro: I learned that I could have the most impact on my playing time by playing my own role. I am the player that plays defense, grabs rebounds and does all the dirty work. I feel like if I do that at a high level, I could gain more and more minutes.
Q: How does it feel to be back on Grounds and training with your teammates?
Caffaro: It feels good to be back on Grounds with my teammates. It was good to have a little break from basketball, but it became too long, and doing individual workouts wasn’t the same.
Q: How different or difficult has it been training at JPJ with all of the necessary safety precautions during the pandemic?
Caffaro: It has been a little bit different, but it’s been a pretty adjustment. The only thing that is annoying is having to play with masks.
Q: What are your goals and expectations for this season?
Caffaro: Personally, I want to give the team as much as I can from my end by playing hard and being ready whenever I hear my name.
Q: Who are your role models and why?
Caffaro: In life, my role model is my mom. She is the person that has always been there for me and supports me on every decision I make.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time away from the basketball court?
Caffaro: I spend a lot of time with my girlfriend, and I also play video games and watch TV shows.
Q: The 2020-21 UVA men’s basketball roster includes fellow international players Tomas Woldetensae (Italy) and Kody Stattmann (Queensland). How have the three of you fit in with your teammates and how have you handled living in another country?
Caffaro: Living in another country hasn’t really been a challenge since I have been living outside of Argentina for a while. I think the international players all fit in really well with our teammates.
Q: What other sports do you enjoy to watch or play and why?
Caffaro: Tennis. I used to play tennis a lot before basketball and I think it is a game that requires a lot of mental toughness, and I find it very entertaining to watch.
Q: How would you describe yourself if asked?
Caffaro: I would say I am tall and funny.
Q: How well did you handle the pandemic and what else did you do to stay busy?
Caffaro: I think I handled it pretty well. I spent a lot of time with my girlfriend. We tried to keep ourselves busy by doing some puzzles, going to the river, watching TV and cooking.
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