Yeah, you always have to fight confirmation bias when evaluating commits and recruits you think you might get, but I actually think that the converse of what you described is true in this case. I think the initial lukewarm reactions from some could have been influenced by his nonexistent ratings and lack of scholarship offers. I, for one, was immediately intrigued by what I saw and actually signed up here mainly to watch Dylan’s Bajema footage and read up on him. I thought to myself, “This looks like a kid who, in three years, is going to put up 38 points in a tournament game to upset a 3 seed and everybody’s going to ask how everyone missed the boat on him.”
That said, it can be difficult to have confidence in your evaluation of a player when the people who do it for a living seemingly all disagree with you. Now that schools like Virginia and Xavier have offered, and recruiting analysts have chimed in, it validates what some of us were thinking to begin with: that this kid can play.
I think the concerns about his athleticism are overblown, at least on the offensive end (not sure about defense). He’s not vertically explosive at the moment, but that’s bound to improve with maturity, and his length will help offset any residual deficiency in that area. His all-around athleticism seems pretty good to me. I think “fluid,” a word others have used, is a good way to describe him. He seems pretty agile in the way that he knifes into the lane and makes adjustments around the basket. His first step seems to be somewhere between fine and good, especially in the most recent videos, and I think his skillful ball-handling allows him to play quicker than he might actually be.
I will be really surprised if Beilein passes on him and I hope he doesn’t unless a blue chip suddenly falls in our lap. I’ve actually reached the point where I’m a little nervous that he could. It could be Larry Nance Jr. all over again, which was one of Beilein’s biggest recruiting mistakes. He did well to discover Nance, but ultimately made the wrong call in offering Bielfeldt over him. As each day passes without us offering Bajema, I fear that it could happen again. Dither too much and it could open the door for other schools, especially Virginia, although Beilein’s offense should be much more attractive than Bennett’s for a kid like Bajema.
Anyway, we’ll see. Maybe I’m getting a little carried away based on limited footage and a small sample size against quality competition. I’m fascinated to see what Beilein does.