After one season, freshman guard Cole Bajema is potentially departing Ann Arbor as he submitted his name to the transfer portal, a program spokesperson confirmed to The Daily.
After not seeing the floor much during his first year in college basketball, Bajema has decided to test the transfer waters and land a spot at a program where he may be able to scrape together a larger role.
In his one year at Michigan, Bajema averaged just 2.6 ppg in 3.7 minutes per game. Making the most of his time on the floor when he could, Bajema typically highlighted his ample on-court playing time with a late-game 3-point bomb. Going 4-for-7 from 3-point range over the season, Bajema showed promise as a deep threat.
As Michigan coach Juwan Howard’s first recruiting class is set to unpack their bags in Michigan’s dorm rooms, it is tough to imagine Bajema would have seen a dramatic uptick in his minutes during the upcoming season. Though there are question marks at the guard positions with a hodge podge of names swirling around as to who will replace Zavier Simpson and David DeJulius at the point, Bajema’s name still sat pretty low on those lists.
It is hard to speculate over a potential ceiling for the Lynden, Wash. native since he so rarely saw the floor. Only playing against low to mid-major foes in the beginning of the season or at the end of blowout games, Bajema was never really subject to the thralls of Big Ten regular season competition.
If Bajema decides to leave the program, this will leave the Wolverines with two open scholarship spots for next season and a whopping six spots on their roster for the 2021 season. Just a few weeks ago, two more of those scholarships were made available due to Isaiah Todd’s decommitment in favor of the G League and five-star recruit Joshua Christopher’s surprise decision to not commit to Michigan in favor of Arizona State.
While the Wolverines still boast the top recruiting class in the Big Ten despite the loss of the two highly-ranked prospects, depth will now be a big question for Michigan as it scrambles to fill roster spots with high-quality players.
If Bajema does indeed depart, he will leave the other lone freshman in his recruiting class — Franz Wagner — to advance to his sophomore year as the only member left of his class. Wagner himself made headlines a few weeks ago by deciding to stay with the Wolverines instead of pursuing professional opportunities in the NBA.
In his one year, Bajema did show potential for growth but struggled to find a home in the rotation. Perhaps another program can offer that coveted spot where he can flourish into an offensive-minded weapon at the guard position.
Daniel Dash contributed reporting to this story.