Cole Bajema took a winding road that ended back home.
The former Lynden Christian basketball standout and two-time 1A state player of the year will transfer to University of Washington after one season at Michigan, he announced on social media Saturday afternoon in a concise tweet.
It is likely Bajema will have to sit out next season, per NCAA rules.
Though Bajema’s role would have reasonably expanded in the coming years, he decided to leave Michigan because of an uncertainty about how the coaching staff saw him fitting in to their plan going forward.
Once he entered the transfer portal, Bajema had many schools interested. Washington had initially offered him as a high school recruit. Washington State, led by first year head coach Kyle Smith, also entered the picture. A source close to Bajema said the Huskies were very clear in their recruiting pitch to the 6-foot-7 sharpshooter. Efforts to reach Bajema Saturday night were not immediately successful.
As a high school prospect, Bajema was a multi-year standout but his recruiting picked up late in the process. Michigan, his “dream school,” came through with a coveted offer, but head coach John Beilein left shortly thereafter to take over as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. When former Michigan great Juwan Howard took over, Bajema remained committed to the Wolverines.
As a freshman, he saw the floor in 10 games and hit 10 of 13 shots on the season.
Kara Bajema, Cole’s older sister, was an All-American outside hitter for the Huskies’ volleyball team. She finished her senior season in the fall.
Bajema is the second former Washington high school standout to transfer to the Huskies. He joins Erik Stevenson, former Timberline High School standout, who transferred to Washington after two seasons at Wichita State in late March. Of the Huskies on the 2019-20 roster who played high school in the state Washington, as many as five could return.
Andy Buhler is a reporter for Scorebook Live Washington. To hear him every week on the Scorebook Live Today podcast, subscribe here. Follow him on Twitter @AndyBuhler and reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.