Michigan guard Cole Bajema, a Lynden Christian graduate, shoots against Saginaw Valley State on Nov. 1, 2019. Bajema has transferred to the University of Washington. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press file)

Michigan guard Cole Bajema, a Lynden Christian graduate, shoots against Saginaw Valley State on Nov. 1, 2019. Bajema has transferred to the University of Washington. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press file)

UW Huskies add former Lynden Christian star

Cole Bajema transferring from Michigan

By Lauren Kirschman | McClatchy News Service

SEATTLE — Washington head coach Mike Hopkins has added another transfer, a former all-state player from Lynden Christian, to his roster.

While the Huskies didn’t sign any recruits in the 2020 class, they’ve now brought in three transfers this offseason — all Washington natives. Cole Bajema — a former four-star recruit in the Class of 2019 — became the latest on Saturday night when he announced he was transferring from Michigan to UW.

The Huskies previously added Nate Pryor and Erik Stevenson. Pryor, who played for West Seattle High School, spent the last two seasons at North Idaho College. Stevenson, a former Timberline High School standout, transferred to UW from Wichita State. He averaged 11.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists as a sophomore. Pryor scored nine points in a North Idaho win in November 2018 over Peninsula College.

Bajema (6-foot-8, 175 pounds) entered the transfer portal less than two weeks ago.

A former star at Lynden Christian School, Bajema was The Associated Press Class 1A Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019 and an All-State first-team selection both seasons. He played against the Port Angeles Roughriders in a 2019 game, scoring 20 points in a Lynden Christian 64-50 win over the Roughriders in Port Angeles. Port Angeles’ Kyle Benedict managed to hold Bajema to 5-of-19 shooting in that game.

He’s the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,876 points. He holds the top two single-season scoring records as well as the all-time 3-point shooting percentage. He averaged 24.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists as a senior.

Bajema originally committed to play for John Beilein at Michigan and reaffirmed his commitment to the Wolverines after new head coach Juwan Howard took over. But he played sparingly as a freshman, seeing the floor in just 13 games, averaging 3.7 minutes and 2.6 points. He shot 10-of-13 from the field, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc and finished with four total rebounds, two steals and a block.

Bajema’s sister, Kara Bajema, was an All-American volleyball player for the Huskies.

UW lost four players from its 2019-20 roster. Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels — both five-star recruits — declared for the NBA Draft after their freshman seasons. Backup forward Sam Timmins graduated while sophomore backup point guard Elijah Hardy transferred to Portland State.

Under current NCAA rules, both Bajema and Stevenson would have to sit out next season unless they are granted a hardship waiver.

________

The Peninsula Daily News contributed to this report.

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