CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Kody Stattmann scored a career-high 11 points in Tuesday night’s loss to Boston College. His scoring outburst, which featured an array of shots and athletic moves near the rim, comes one game after setting his previous career-high with 10 points against Virginia Tech.
Stattmann also added eight rebounds against the Hokies and seven boards against the Eagles. Those are the first games of his collegiate career with at least five rebounds.
“The bright spot was Kody Stattmann,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said after the Boston College loss. “I thought he showed some nice things in that game.”
The sophomore is hitting his stride on the court, showing glimpses of the player who starred in Australia during his high school days. Stattmann averaged 31 points per game in 2017 FIBA Under-17 Oceania Championship, helping lead Australia to a team title. He averaged 25 points per contest as part of the under-18 Queensland North team that won a silver medal at 2017 nationals.
Off the court, Stattmann hasn’t had the easiest season. After starting the season shooting poorly, he battled an illness that knocked him out for multiple games and kept him mostly in bed.
Back home, his native Australia is being ravaged by wildfires.
NBC News reports that as of Tuesday, wildfires had burned upward of 32,400 square miles of land. According to the report, that’s more than 80 times larger than the area burned during the 2019 California wildfires.
For comparison, the city of Charlottesville is 10.4 square miles, and the Commonwealth of Virginia is 39,598 square miles. The fires have damaged a tremendous stretch of land.
The damage in Australia has been horrific, and images look apocalyptic as humans and wildlife such as kangaroos and koalas desperately try to avoid the massive flames.
NPR reports that at least 25 people have died since the fires began in September. Some reports say over 1 billion animals have likely died in the fires with more to come. Nearly 2,000 homes across the country have been destroyed.
“It’s pretty devastating what’s going on over there,” Stattmann said.
Fortunately, Stattmann’s immediate family lives north of most of the fires. His cousins live closer to the widespread fires. Luckily, they’re located in the city rather than a rural area, which has kept them out of the devastation.
Virginia’s small forward still keeps tabs on the events occurring in his home country even with his family safe.
“I’ve been looking at it like every day on the internet and social media,” Stattmann said.
Stattmann says the events haven’t hindered his focus during games. Being in the United States, the Australian wildfires are a major story, but other national headlines tend to dominate the news cycle.
He called the results of the fires “devastating” and “sad,” but said that the events aren’t affecting him that much personally given that he’s in the United States.
Stattmann is fortunate that all of his loved ones are safe, and Virginia’s lone Australian player hopes people will consider donating to help those affected by the fires.
Among the organizations helping are the Australian Red Cross and Salvation Army Australia. There’s also a major Facebook campaign, created by Australian actor, writer and comedian Celeste Barber, that has raised over $30 million for The Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service & Brigades Donation Fund. The funds will support the victims of the fires as well as provide resources for those fighting the fires, which could last for many more months.
“Definitely the No. 1 thing is just donation pages on Facebook and Instagram,” Stattmann said. “Stuff like that is just one of the main causes that people need to look at more.”