Ryan Clark at the Tacoma News Tribune is reporting that Bitumba Baruti has been granted his release and will transfer from the University of Washington. The news has not yet been made official by the school or Baruti himself but Clark cites a UW spokesman as the source of the information. Baruti’s departure becomes the 2nd in as many days after PG Michael Carter III announced yesterday that he will also be leaving.
Baruti redshirted this season after playing just 76 total minutes in his freshman season. The fact that he couldn’t crack the rotation made his transfer a widely expected move. However, if I’m interpreting the transfer rules correctly Baruti will still need to sit out a year and will lose a year of eligibility if he goes elsewhere which could’ve been avoided if he had made the move during the season.
He originally joined the Huskies late in the 2017 recruiting period after Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss left somewhat unexpectedly (compared to preseason thoughts) for the NBA. Those two spots were filled by Baruti and Carlos Johnson, both of whom are now gone. Baruti was a 3-star recruit who is a fantastic athlete but who was new to the game of basketball after moving to the US from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
There were concerns about how Washington would clear space for their recruiting class with only one departing senior in Dan Kingma but Coach Hopkins has now completely turned over the back end of the roster. Devenir Duruisseau announced at the beginning of the season that he would be moving on while Carlos Johnson, Michael Carter III, and now Baruti have made that announcement after the season. If Noah Dickerson returns to school then Washington will return the top-8 members of their rotation while turning over the other 5 spots.
The Spring signing period starts tomorrow and the Huskies now have room for every player verbally committed to them. Bryan Penn-Johnson is expected to sign tomorrow but there is uncertainty whether Garfield forward Ed Chang will be eligible or potentially reclassify to 2019. Regardless, the Huskies now have room for either Chang, another member of the 2018 class, or a transfer. It’ll be difficult for anyone they get at this point to make an impact next season so Hopkins can afford to be picky filling the 13th slot. Don’t forget that Naz Carter and Hameir Wright both signed over the summer and it might be possible for the Huskies to find a gem late.
We wish Bitumba the best of luck in finding an opportunity to get some serious minutes on the court.
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