California guard Joel Brown, left, reaches for Washington guard Cole Bajema as he drives towards the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Seattle. Bajema will be joining the Runnin’ Utes for the 2023-24 season.

Lindsey Wasson, Associated Press

When Washington’s Cole Bajema decided to hit the transfer portal a few months ago after averaging 8.5 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in his fourth season of college basketball, his father and one of his former club ball coaches told him to jot down a list of schools he could see himself landing at as a graduate transfer.

“I think we could definitely make some noise this year. Obviously there are no promises on roles and whatnot, but I think I can be a contributor. I am optimistic going into the season.” — new Runnin’ Ute Cole Bajema

Utah was high up on that list.

So when Runnin’ Utes coach Craig Smith contacted the 6-foot-7 guard a day or two after his name appeared in the portal, Bajema was thrilled.

“I knew which schools I liked, but I wasn’t going to reach out to any schools — just because I wanted the interest to come from them first,” Bajema said. “So Utah reached out to me no longer than a day or two after I entered, and then I went on a visit probably three weeks after I entered the portal. And so yeah, here I am now.”

Actually, Bajema is still in Seattle, at least for a few more weeks. He’s wrapping up his degree in sociology, and will join the Utes for good in a couple of weeks. He committed on April 18 and …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


Utah basketball: Cole Bajema shares why he left UW and joined the Utes

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