Five thoughts on Cole Bajema's pledge to Michigan


#1

#2

Great article! Anyone still considering “joining” might want to join now just for the opportunity to read this article and other information and video breakdown of both Bajema and Jalen Wilson. Really good stuff!


#3

I would never presume that Cole will turn into a 1st round draft pick (here’s hoping) , but watch the first 20 seconds on the 1st video and tell me it’s not Caris, even down to the step-back and the follow through. Will be really interesting to see what Coach Beilein can do with CB.


#4

I know some people abhor player comparisons - but I couldn’t agree with you more. These highlights scream Caris - from the handle, the herky jerky drives off screens, acrobatic finishes to avoid the defense, to his quick release shot…

I’m just really impressed with some of the higher level skills that this kid possesses (specifically his handle, which immediately stuck out to me, and his comfort level in ball screens). I think it will be more difficult physically, but think it will be fun watching him develop.


#5

This is not a dig at anyone but “positionless basketball” is the new “RPO” in football terms. Its ALL anyone ever talks about.


#6

Ha. That’s true, but I don’t think every team in college basketball necessarily recruits like that. It is also probably a similar phenomenon where the team that won the whole thing (Villanova, Eagles) had an approach that represented the big trend.

Michigan’s prioritization of a bunch of dudes around 6-foot-7 regardless of position is notable. It wasn’t long ago that they couldn’t really get anyone like that.


#7

Definitely true that it is a major buzz word being used currently… it is also true in that is how the game is headed directionally. Warriors, Rockets, etc in the NBA, as well as Villanova, as Dylan mentioned above, are prominent, successful examples.


#8

The very first film I saw of Bajema weeks ago reminded me of Caris, including the body build. I think Dylan’s comparison to Kevin Heurter is also right on.


#9

If Cole ends up a Kevin Heurter or Caris Levert would really be something. There is also a resembelence to the hated Sparty Matt McQuaid. Thanks again for your attention to detail. Again good to see some defense in the clips also.


#10

I don’t see the similarity there. Bajema is far more slippery with the ball and more of a driver. McQuaid rarely shoots inside the arc.


#11

I meant body wise.


#12

Beilein has coached the “positionless” basketball before. He did it at WVU for long stretches before he left for UM. He had lineups of Darris Nichols, Alex Ruoff (6’6), Da’Sean Butler (6’6), Joe Alexander (6’8), and Frank Young (6’5). Frank played the 5 on offense and it gave other teams fits.


#13

I don’t anticipate Poole being on the 19-20 roster. #ProBlue. But Lord knows I’ve been wrong before.


#14

Stealing Spike Albrecht from Appalacian State was another recruitment Coach Beilein went with his eyes and gut.

I am with everyone on the Caris LeVert thing. The way he finishes his 3 point shot is just like LeVert, plus a few other similarities. Nice crossover too. I thought Caris sometimes changed direction too much. You beat the guy with the first crossover why you feel the need to beat him again with another crossover?!?! So far Bajema seems content with one killer crossover per drive

I have a feeling Bajema might get to 6’9”. Looks like he could grow some more.


#15

Thanks Dylan! I believe any power 5 coach worth their salt relies on their own evaluations if at all possible. They might take a look at a player based on what they’re hearing or seeing from recruiting services, but that’s about it. Recruiting services and stars are for us fans.

This guy is 6 foot 7 inches and skinny as a rail after he grew 6 inches in a hurry. His career probably depends on how much strength/athleticism he can add–something that depends on him but also on genetics. It seems extremely doubtful that he can regularly play the 4 in the big 10. His body type doesn’t seem like it would allow it. But so what. Reggie Miller wasn’t a behemoth either.

To me, position-less basketball means that coaches use players where their skills fit and not based on pigeonholing them in traditional position categories based on their height and weight, not that these factors are irrelevant.


#16

He’s slated to be a 2, not a 4.


#17

Exactly, said this in the post. My point about the group of positionless players is that Michigan is going to have a very intriguing combination of length at basically all positions which makes things very switchable and flexible.


#18

Exactly. we have Iggy, Livers, Johns and Wilson. There will be zero need to play Bajema at 4. But none of the above has the ball handling skills that Bajema has. Bajema looks very natural with ball in his hands, more like Spike than Stauskas.


#19

I actually think Bajema could be a BIG point guard, at least on O, someday.


#20

More likely to play the 1 than the 4, but the fact that he could play the 2/3/1 is what I’m talking about in terms of positionless flexibility. You can fit whoever else you want around him.