2019 - G - Cole Bajema (Commit)



Sometimes life can seem a little cyclical. This quote definitely reminded me of right after '13 and '14 , where it seemed like a Michigan offer or even interest yielded a stampede of offers:

“I think a lot of other coaches took notice, since Coach Beilein was there, they’re like ‘Ok, this kid must be pretty legit.’ So then, got a lot more coaches started showing up to the game.”

But this one does seem like Michigan will be in a very good spot if JB decides to move forward.


USA Today has listed Bajema (and Lester Quinones) as one of the 10 players who stood out in Las Vegas (most interesting part in bold):

Recruiting is often about performing well at the right time, in front of the right eyes. That happened last week with Bajema, a 6-7 shooting guard from near the Washington-Canada border. Michigan head coach John Beilein tracked him throughout the first two July periods. Utah, Northwestern, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Minnesota, Xavier and other high-majors joined the party last week. Bajema currently holds a handful of low- to mid-major offers from Santa Clara, San Francisco and UC Santa Barbara, among others, but he’s certainly on the high-major radar now. He’s a skilled guard in a 6-7 body, with solid handles and a beautiful, rainbow 3-point shot.

His hometown paper had an article about him today:

His high school coach highlighted his rapid improvement:

“He’s so much better right now than he was three months ago,” De Boer said. “It’s been exciting to see him blossom the last two weeks. It’s been an emotional roller-coaster.”

Apparently he’s playing in a semi-pro league:

Cole was also selected to play for the Bellingham Slam this summer, a semi-professional summer-league team that competes in the Seattle Pro-Am league.

He played 10 minutes in a July 7 game, but now that his AAU season is over for the year, he’ll be playing for the Slam the remainder of their schedule, starting with an Aug. 11 matchup against Team Adidas.

Trying to bulk up:

When he’s not taking a couple hundred shots from a shooting machine at the Ridnour Athletic Courts gym, he’s consuming protein shakes and working on his nutrition to add bulk to his 175-pound frame.

“My mom helps keep track of my diet,” Cole said. “I’m trying to add more muscle and more weight, so I can compete at the next level.”

He has a connection to Luke Ridnour, former NBA point guard and Oregon star who grew up in Blaine, WA, not far from Lynden, WA:

Luke Ridnour, founder of the Ridnour Athletic Courts, has also helped Cole along the way.

“Luke has been involved in this process,” DeBoer said. “Luke has spent time with Cole. He’s sat down and prayed with the family.”



Gotta love this:
“Brady said Bajema shoots it well off the dribble out to about 30 feet.”


Brady said he expects Bajema to hear from Michigan within the week on whether or not they will offer a scholarship.

I was wondering what the timeline might be for Beilein to decide which of the recent targets he would offer and push for


I think Coach B is pretty sure that as soon as he offers Bajema, he will commit. So, he’s faced with the very serious decision of, is this the guy I want for this scholarship, because once this scholarship is accounted for I’m full.

Actually he’s one over the limit, but he knows that scholarship will be available. I am pretty sure Coach B is not going to go two over the limit. Something else may open up in the spring, but it also may not. So, if he offers, Cole Bajema takes the spot and the class is full…at least for the foreseeable future.

So, Coach B says, thinks, “OK, let’s be certain. Is this the guy we want? Do we have a legitimate shot at Cole Anthony? Is there a chance we can get Rocket Watts? Do we like Watts better than Bajema? What about Beverly or Quinones? Wow, this Quinones kid is tearing it up, too. Do we take the chance that we can get HIM? We need to be sure Cole Bajema is the guy we want, now, with THIS scholarship, or we can’t offer him, because we know he’s all in for Michigan and when we offer, he’s ours.”

And then there’s the Girard thing pulling at him, too. Kid can really shoot it. Beilein coached his dad so there are family ties. Allegedly others on the staff don’t really want him as anything other than a plan B.

I think Coach B is agonizing a bit right now as he tries to weigh options. He has choices. One of those choices may be a bird in the hand who potentially can really fly. There are other choices who can just soar (Anthony) perhaps limitlessly. But are those choices realistic? Again, this, and so many other reasons, is why Coach B gets paid the big bucks! Trust in Beilein. He will do what his heart and his gut tell him to do after exploring ALL his options and doing his homework. Just my two cents.


Nice write up. One thing - Anthony is probably in a separate bucket. He’s going to wait until spring to decide, and I don’t think JB is going to hold the scholarship until then.


U-M isn’t over the scholarship limit for 2019, that’s not accurate. We have one unused scholarship and Charles Matthews is listed as a Senior plus you are allowed to oversign by one-- so technically Beilein, has Jalen Wilson’s spot, plus two additional scholarships to play with for the early signing period.


Accurate recap, IMO. Prediction based on Beilein’s philosophy of wanting kids that want Michigan. He offers and gets Bajema and I am fine with that.
Some of those other high targets will likely still be available next spring, and if something opens up, we could still add one elite player at that time. If not, we still have a solid two man class.


Yup, I agree. He is probably weighing what @silverblue indicated, but more Bajema v. Beverly, Watts, Quinones rather than including Anthony or one of the other 5-stars in that equation.


Point taken, but I doubt that’s how Beilein is approaching it. I guess we’ll see, but if he felt like he had two right now, I’d bet that Bajema would already be offered (and committed).


Yes, you are correct in saying Mathews is listed as a senior, that’s the way Coach B does it now. However, Charles is actually a redshirt junior. He will have one year of eligibility left after the coming year. Of course everyone, Coach B, Charles, and virtually everyone on this forum thinks Charles will be gone after this year, and he probably, almost certainly, will be. In that case Charles’ scholarship would be an available scholarship.

But not so fast. What if, and I don’t even want to say this, what if, heaven forbid, something happened this year, perhaps an injury of nagging injuries, that caused Charles to feel the need to come back and he went to Coach B near the end of the season and said, “Coach I really need and want to come back for my last year of eligibility.” Now we can argue whether it would or could happen, but I don’t think Coach B would say, “Nope, sorry Charles, but we don’t want you back.” And I know “fifth years” are not guaranteed.

So, technically, Jalen Wilson is taking the scholarship we currently have “open” which would put us at 13, including Charles. Thirteen scholarships IS the limit. If something doesn’t happen in the next month, we will be one under the scholarship limit THIS year. WITH Charles and the Jalen Wilson commitment, another commitment would put us one over that limit for next year. Again, we can argue the possible scenarios that would cause Charles to want or need to come back. We can argue whether Coach B would keep him if he wanted to come back. He would (keep Charles), but I’ll not argue the point because that tends to pit players against one another, and that I’m not interested in doing.

So I go back to my original statement. The next commitment will put us over the limit for 2019. I think that will be resolved, but it does put us over the limit. Now, you’ll probably come back and say something like, “Nope, Charles’ scholarship doesn’t count against the 2019 scholarship limit.” Actually, I think it does, in the incredible and wonderful mind of Coach B. And I think Coach B plays all these scenarios out in his head when making decisions. And that’s part of how he agonizes over such things. But what if…

Finally, I agree with the points made by UMHoopsFan, champions, and goblued16, and Knucklehead, while I TECHICALLY disagree with your point about the number of scholarships we have available, I certainly respect your point of view, and it will probably play out that way. We may even have that second scholarship available in the spring! :wink:


Didn’t Beilein have the exactly the same problem when he signed 5 in last November. I don’t see this as a concern.


Ok, so last year we had 12 scholarship players on our roster, meaning we played that season one under the limit. We had three seniors, MAAR, Jaaron, and Ducan who were in their FOURTH year of eligibility. So we had four scholarships available. We over signed by one with the assumption that either Moe, most likely, or Charles, possibly, would go pro. We actually had four real slots, though, with the four players who were in their fourth years of eligibility plus the open slot, therefore, when we signed five players, we over signed by one.

I submit the next commitment will put us in that scenario, and we will be oversigned by one with Charles likely, almost certainly going pro. Another commitment beyond, let’s say the Bajema commitment, would put us two over the limit. We would have Wilson, the next commitment (Bajema?) and another one beyond that (Cole?) with only one spot available IF Charles came back. That was my point.

Now, here’s the tricky part. How does the B1G and the NCAA determine eligibility? Is it by academic class or is it by number of years played under scholarship? I submit it is not by academic year but by the number of years a player has played under scholarship. The roster lists Charles as a senior. He is a senior academically, perhaps he’s even in grad school. He IS a smart young man, after all. But he actually has, according to NCAA rules, one year of eligibility available AFTER this year, IF he would choose to use it and Coach B would allow him to use it.

So, similar to last year, but I don’t think the same. But, of course, it WILL work out and it will probably work out just as we think it will. I’m just saying Coach B thinks about all of these things. He’s incredibly thorough.


An article from 24/7’s UVA’s site on Bajema.

Perhaps we won’t even have to wait a week to find out whether Michigan will offer:

Coach Brady thinks their offer is likely coming within a few days.

Someone with the username HoozGotNext, who apparently conducted the interview, posted this in the comments:

On the money. I said obviously most of the media attention has came from Michigan, where do things stand there? He giggled and said Cole has given some bold quotes on that hasn’t he. He went on to say that he still thinks they’re his first choice, but that Coach Bennett and others may be able to open his mind in the meantime.

As for the Michigan offer, he believes the hold up is just procedural. Beilein has been in constant contact, at nearly all their games in Vegas. He thinks they’re getting admissions clearance first.

Michigan is technically out of scholarships but still plan to take one more recruit. I don’t doubt they’re sincere about Bajema and probably are planning to offer a scholarship. We’ll see if it really comes immediately as they expect though. They’re also trying to get Lester Quinones to visit. So it may not be as cut and dry as that.


This looks to be the money quote in all of these links.

As far as scholarships go, I think it makes complete sense to look at Charles Matthews as a senior. Michigan has recruited as if RS years weren’t guaranteed and they’ve continued to do that. Everyone involved is planning on Matthews having a good year and entering the NBA Draft next year.

I’d consider oversigning to be extending to 3 in this class. I don’t think it is impossible, but the question is what level of prospects does that include. Obviously you oversign for Cole Anthony, but some other prospects might not end up visiting or receiving offers.


I think the one about Quinones says something too…I do suspect that is a factor.


To me, the plan seems pretty straightforward at this time: get a SG/off-guard to commit, then stand pat and push for Cole Anthony since a Spring decision is likely. Worry about the numbers after the season. Agreed the expectation makes sense that Matthews has a good year and goes pro.


What about it? That just seems to be the writer noting that Michigan is recruiting other players in the class.