2019 - G - Cole Bajema (Commit)


MattD had an interesting comment in another forum. He definitely seems quite high on Bajema and says while he thinks Jalen Wilson will be the better prospect as a freshman and perhaps as a sophomore, he thinks Bajema will have a better career at Michigan than Wilson. I hope I’m not representing Matt but I get the impression he thinks Bajema will be pretty special by the time his junior year rolls around.

By the way, I didn’t post this because I wanted to reopen the MarrD discussion, 'cause I don’t. I just respect him as an evaluator of talent.


Doesn’t seem that controversial to me. Wilson is more college-ready right now but probably less ceiling than a 6-7 guard with PNR skills.


He sounds like a great prospect on the offensive end. Anyone know anything about his defensive abilities?


I’m pretty sure he’s not very good for a number of factors that apply to most HS players. IMO it’s of little importance how well he plays D at this point; it’s all about offensive skill and potential at this point. It’s like having a great HS running back and fixating on his pass blocking skills


Hit on this in the video breakdown. His length is a plus, but he obviously needs to get much stronger.


I’m encouraged that Virginia offered him.


I think Cole’s sophmore video is a peice of evidence that supports MattD’s theory that Cole has serious late bloomer upside. I also tend to agree with the Wilson/ Cole comparison in terms of ceiling and floor. Wilson looks biologiclly like a 20 year old. Cole looks like a 16 year old, who is going to grow a bit more, get more explosive, get more strength and size. In two years Cole is going to be a force, imo.


I agree. Matt says Jalen Wilson is a more physically mature player with a high floor but a lower ceiling than Cole Bajema. I agree with that assessment, and I think there is a huge upside with Cole. I also agree that he looks quite young in his video and not particularly mature physically…yet. Give him some time with Sanderson.

What I find interesting, and I don’t mean to sound contentious here, is that it’s been implied that, somehow, I thought MattD’s comments were controversial. I certainly didn’t use the word controversial, and I certainly didn’t mean to imply that his comments were controversial. I found Matt’s comment of interest since he is a good evaluator of talent, and that’s pretty much what I said.


The post you were referencing but didn’t link literally started with “My hot take”.


OK, I’m pretty old so I didn’t know “hot take” is another word for controversial. :rofl: Seriously, I didn’t find his comment controversial, I just thought it was “interesting” since I believe he is a good evaluator of talent. I literally had to check back because I didn’t even remember the words “hot take” in his comment. I am old, you know, and memory is sometimes an issue! :smiley:


This kid is a real litmus test for the state of prospect rankings. You said it all! Just glad to have him.


a “Hot Take” is nothing more than an initial impression based on limited evidence, e.g. most recent film.


I’d say a “hot take” is a snap judgment that is aiming to be controversial (i.e. talk radio, garbage ESPN talk shows, etc.)


Not necessarily aiming to be controversial imo, but usually visceral.


Well, there you go. Thanks! :slightly_smiling_face:


I agree on the the fact that Wilson is more physically mature (I’m not sure on their birth dates). I think Cole’s upside comes more from the fact that he’s already so skilled with the ball though and shows a great feel in ball screens. Broke down a lot of that in his video from this summer which is much more recent than the old videos on YouTube.

Michigan has had some great ball screen guards, but only a few with legitimate size (Morris, Stauskas, LeVert) and that brings an added element.


I also agree Cole has big upside although its tough to say if he has a higher ceiling then Wilson.

If Wilson becomes more vertically explosive at Michigan, he’s going to become one of the better wings Beilein has ever had imo, and that’s saying something. The kid can do everything.


I long ago game up on relying on “rankings” because most of those that rank never played the game and/or are limited by not seeing many of the players that they include in the rankings.
Most of these folks that rank or write about players are considerably influenced by the actions or thoughts of others. For example if coach A says that player A is better then that is blindly followed by ranker or writer.

Coaches too have blind spots or limitations when it comes to their evaluations of players. On this front Beilein gets an A. Anybody can see the talents of the super, I give more credit to the coach who can identify the player whose talent is less obvious.

When it comes to relying on writers and rankers, you immediately can discern who deserves your attention by how they describe the player’s abilities. Other indications of reliability are the background of the person doing the evaluations, whether he/she is trying to promote a program (or simply cover it) and how often the writer attends actual games as opposed to regurgitating information passed on by somebody else. Too often I see posters who are willing to pass on bad or inaccurate information as is its gospel. But no matter how often it is repeated, it remains bogus information.

I like this board because there are at least couple of folks who seem to know the game and aren’t focused on selling themselves or a program.


I think we’ve gone over this many times before. Usually the top 10-15 are usually no brainers and then there’s a bunch of wiggle room from 15-50 and then 50-150, so on and so forth.

The rankings are generally limited because the “national” evaluators don’t see everyone or come close to seeing everyone. The only organization that can get close to Prep Hoops (one of my former players founded it and @BP3 works for them). The issue with them is they have too many people with ideas on where players should be ranked. The guys I trust are Corey Evans and Eric Bossi from Rivals. I think they get out a ton and see a bunch of different prospects from the sneaker circuit and the non-sneaker circuit. I also think that @MattD does a great job but I don’t frequent his site as much as I probably should.

Regardless, there are always going to biases in the rankings. Whether it’s recency bias like @umhoops talked about early or regional bias. Ultimately, there are probably 15-25 prospects similar to Bajema throughout the country but didn’t do the things he did in front a coach/a national recruiting guy/group of coaches.

All of that being said, I think he is a good prospect that would be a great redshirt candidate that will make plays in the future. In my mind there is a slight concern on the level of competition in HS and in AAU. He lit up Howard Pulley (local Nike team for me) but Pulley isn’t good this year and has no real matchup for him. We probably won’t get a chance to see him play against better players until he arrives in AA. My comparison for him might be former WVU guard Alex Ruoff (Alex was a little thicker in HS).


I don’t disagree with anything that you are saying. I disagree with how people tend to interpret what the rankings mean without contextualizng exactly what is going on and how hard it is to actually rank players.

Rivals/247 have the most resources, but every regional scout for both networks isn’t perfect. Someone like Matt might have a great eye for talent, but he doesn’t have the resources to be at nearly as many events as the big sites.

I think the best way to look at this stuff is trying to grade players into buckets (HM +/-, MM +/-) and then talk about what they do well and don’t do well, how they fit, etc. For example, Cole Bajema is a great fit at Michigan but might not be a great fit at at WVU or Texas Tech, but someone else could be a similar caliber prospect and completely different style of player and ranked 60th.

But that’s not how the internet works and I get that :slight_smile: Rankings and Crystal Balls and Team Rankings, etc. are what powers internet traffic and what people want to see.