After not pulling in any recruits during the 2020 cycle, Washington basketball has managed to convince another transfer to come home!
2020 was a tough year for Washington basketball on all fronts, from finishing in last in the Pac-12 to striking out on the recruiting front, but the transfer portal has been good to Mike Hopkins and staff! Hopkins was able to land his third transfer in Cole Bajema, a former four-star recruit who originally committed to Michigan.
The 6’7 small forward played his high school ball at Lynden Christian in Lynden, Washington, and possesses what the Huskies need more than anything, three-point shooting. Bajema saw very limited playing time as a freshman, appearing in nine games and averaging just 4.1 minutes, and 2.9 points per game. The most exciting part for Husky fans is that Bajema shot an astounding .571% from beyond the three-point line during his first year in Ann Arbor. Yes, that was on limited minutes, but the Huskies could use all the help they can get from long range.
If ruled immediately eligible, Bajema and sophomore RaeQuan Battle could provide an elite spark from deep off the bench. Depending on the eligibility of fellow transfer Erik Stevenson, Bajema will probably end up coming off the bench behind senior Nahziah Carter and junior Jamal Bey. It’s hard to project what Washington’s lineup might look like because of the impending transfer decisions by the NCAA. If all goes well and Bajema is allowed to play immediately, he’ll be an immediate scoring threat from deep, and as he continues to put on weight and strength, his length will be incredibly impactful in Hopkins’ 2-3 zone.
Mike Hopkins is known for playing a shallow bench, usually running an eight-man rotation, but with the influx of talent the Huskies have managed to accrue over the offseason will probably force him to use more of his bench. If eligible immediately, Stevenson and Bajema will make an immediate impact, but Bey and Carter are going to need minutes as well. And we can’t forget the combination of Battle and Marcus Tsohonis, who were supposed to redshirt before Quade Green was ruled ineligible.
That’s a lot of guys that need minutes, and Hopkins will surely find the best way to manage them. With a rotation that can potentially run 10-11 players deep, the Huskies will find their way back to the top of the Pac-12 during the 2020-21 season.