A week ago, Mike Hopkins expressed optimism in regards to Michigan transfer Cole Bajema being able to play this season for the Washington men’s basketball team.
On Wednesday, the NCAA made it official and approved Bajema’s waiver application after granting Wichita State transfer Erik Stevenson’s request to play immediately at UW.
With a week remaining before the Nov. 25 season opener against Portland State, most of Washington’s personnel questions have been answered with the exception of its star Nahziah Carter.
The senior guard was suspended in October for violating the code of conduct in the Washington athletic department, which prohibits him from practicing with the team.
Carter averaged 12.2 points and 4.9 rebounds — the highest totals for any returning UW player — while starting 31 of 32 games last season.
It’s unclear when the Huskies will receive a resolution on Carter, but adding Bajema to the lineup gives them additional firepower in the backcourt.
Even though the 6-foot-7, 190-pound guard played sparingly in just 10 games last season at Michigan, Hopkins believes Bajema is a perfect fit for Washington’s revamped three-point offensive attack.
“He’s just another weapon out there and a guy that’s played at the highest level whose proven he can help us where we need it most and that’s with the three-ball,” Hopkins said. “He didn’t play a whole lot (at Michigan), but we know Cole is a gifted shooter.”
Bajema averaged just 2.6 points and 3.7 minutes with the Wolverines as a freshman. Still, he converted 10 of 13 shots from the field, including 4 of 7 three-pointers.
The Lynden, Wash. native starred at Lynden Christian School where he set the school’s all-time scoring record with 1,876 points. He also owns the school’s top two single-season scoring marks. As a senior, Bajema averaged 24.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists and captured the Associated Press Class 1A Player of the Year in 2019 for the second straight year.
Bajema was a four-star prospect and considered the No. 4 player in Washington state, according to the 24/7 Sports recruiting website.
Bajema’s older sister Kara was an All-American volleyball player at Washington who graduated last season.