Cole Bajema reaffirms commitment, 'all in' on Michigan after coaching change
Any concerns Michigan signee Cole Bajema might look to explore other options following former coach John Beilein’s exit came to an end Friday night.
In his first public comments since Beilein made the jump to the NBA last week, Bajema reaffirmed his commitment on Twitter and said he'll uphold his pledge with new Michigan coach Juwan Howard.
“The departure of Coach Beilein came as a big surprise. Given Coach Beilein recruited me, I am sad to see him go but fully support him in his new venture at the Cavaliers,” Bajema wrote in a post. “I cannot thank the entire Michigan basketball staff enough for their support.
“Having patiently waited for Michigan to name its new head coach, I am very excited Juwan Howard is the new head coach. I believe he will uphold the great culture that is Michigan basketball. I know there’s been a lot of speculation out there, but I am ALL IN for Coach Howard and ready to report in June! Go Blue!”
Bajema’s announcement is a rare piece of good news for Michigan, which has already been dealt blows with its three leading scorers — Ignas Brazdeikis, Jordan Poole and Charles Matthews — and the program’s all-time winningest coach all leaving for the pros this offseason.
Bajema’s AAU coach, Don Brady, told The Detroit News last week the Lynden (Wash.) Christian combo guard wanted to sit tight and make sure whomever Michigan hired had the same plans for him that Beilein did before making a move.
With Bajema’s decision made, the Wolverines now turn their attention to Denton (Texas) Guyer wing and former signee Jalen Wilson, who requested his release from his letter of intent and reopened his recruitment last week.
Wilson has set up official visits with Kansas and North Carolina but has made it known he’s still considering Michigan. Florida and Oklahoma State are also in the mix for Wilson, who hasn't set a timeline for when he'll make his second college choice.
"(Michigan's assistants) said look at what you've got and see what the options are going to be for the next coach, but I couldn't do that," Wilson said during an Instagram Live interview earlier this week. "I had to think about myself because when a new coach comes in, they could fire everybody. I had to get my release and look at what else I have for options for college.
"(I'm going) to go to a place that's in need for a versatile wing and the schools that are on me heavy are schools that need a wing. That's what I'm really going off now — schools that are in need of me."
Wilson and Bajema are both four-star prospects and are rated the nation's No. 50 and No. 106 recruits, respectively, in the 247Sports composite rankings.
The Wolverines have three open scholarships for the 2019-20 season, and Wilson’s return would cut that down to two.