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Hopkins uses transfer portal again, lands Bajema from Michigan

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Hopkins uses transfer portal again, lands Bajema from Michigan

Head coach Mike watches his team shoot a free throw in Washington's 77-70 loss to Arizona in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament on Mar. 11, 2020.

For the third time this offseason, the Washington men’s basketball team has utilized the transfer portal to bring a local talent back to Montlake, this time signing Lynden, Washington native Cole Bajema. 

“Cole fits in our Husky program perfectly and we’re very lucky to have him,” head coach Mike Hopkins said in a press release. “He is highly skilled, has great size and elevates everyone around him on and off the court. His work ethic, talent and character are exactly what we want in our family. It’s our plan to bring the best players in our state to Montlake and we can’t wait to see him in purple and gold.”

The brother of Washington’s All-American outside hitter Kara Bajema, the former Michigan wing was a four-star small forward out of high school and was considered the No. 4 player in the state of Washington for the 2019 recruiting class, behind UW signees Jaden McDaniels and RaeQuan Battle. He ranked just outside the top-100 players in the country. 

Though he reported an offer from the UW, Bajema ultimately chose Michigan but struggled to gain a spot in the rotation with the Wolverines. He played in just nine games as a freshman, all off the bench, and averaged 2.6 points per game. 

Known for his shooting ability and athleticism, Bajema averaged 24 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game as a senior in high school for Lynden. He also helped them win the 2018 1A WIAA State Championship, and only lost two games during his final two seasons of high school basketball. 

Bajema is the third local player the Huskies landed out of the transfer portal, having already announced the signings of Lacey, Washington shooting guard Erik Stevenson from Wichita State and West Seattle, Washington point guard Nate Pryor from North Idaho College. Bajema and Stevenson will have to sit out the 2020-21 season due to NCAA transfer regulations while Pryor is eligible immediately. 

Reach Sports Editor Andy Yamashita at sports@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @ANYamashita

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