2014 four-star wing Kameron Chatman: "Michigan is just the place for me"

477839[1]For a while, it looked bleak: Michigan had swung and missed on a number of its top 2014 prospects and the Wolverines couldn’t seem to land a commitment.

Now, Michigan fans can exhale. The Wolverines got exactly what they were looking for in 2014 with the commitment of four-star recruit Kameron Chatman, a 6-foot-7 wing out of Portland, Oregon.

Chatman possesses all the skills necessary to fill almost any position on the Michigan roster including the mismatch-causing role Glenn Robinson III is likely to vacate after this coming season, when it’s likely Robinson will leave for the NBA. The left handed swingman can handle the ball, shoot and distribute, and rebound the ball. In a word, he’s versatile – an attribute prized by Michigan’s coaching staff.

Kameron’s father, Canaan Chatman, talked on Tuesday night about where he sees his son fitting in with Michigan’s system.

“Kameron is a perimeter player who just happens to be extremely tall and has the gift of rebounding. He was taught at an early age, how he views the game, handling it, passing it, shooting it and everything, if you’re going to have that length and that size, you’ve got to rebound,” Mr. Chatman said. “There’s no way he was going to get a chance to push the ball unless he was in the paint mixing it up. So moving forward, he was being recruited as a two/three with the ability to play some one. Coach Beilein sees him playing one, just because he does have the ability to facilitate; he’s a great passer, he handles the ball extremely well. He’s six-seven and a half right now. By the time he gets to school, I know he’ll be a little over six-eight, might be closer to six-nine. So he might move a little bit off the ball, but his skills will be in place.”

How did Michigan close the deal? John Beilein and all of the assistant coaches took an in-home visit to the Chatman home and made one last pitch on Tuesday.

It was an opportunity for Chatman to ask some last-minute questions — and for the coaches to refresh his memories of his visit for this year’s Notre Dame football game, an event that clearly had an impact on how he perceived Michigan.

“The game was something I’d never seen before. 115,000,” Chatman said during a brief interview on Tuesday. “That was only my third football game ever, so 115,000 was something else. That was a good experience. And I liked the team. They were some good guys. I really bonded with the team well.”

Michigan’s coaching staff had their final say, and although initial reports read that Chatman would be making his decision Wednesday, he saw no reason to delay.

“He wanted the coaches to come in and get a chance to sit down,” Mr. Chatman said. “Obviously Arizona came in last week, so we invited (the Michigan coaches) to come sit down on our turf and just kind of put coach on the hot seat: ask a couple of questions, get their vision for what they saw in Kameron and really just, from our family’s standpoint, what they were thinking. So we sat and talked for a couple hours and when it was all said and done, Kameron decided this was where he wanted to go and he wanted to go ahead and get things going so he can start working on some other guys in his class as well.”

For Chatman, one of the most important factors during Michigan’s recruitment of him was the fact that the Wolverines had been on him way back in 2012, long before he became one of the top players in 2014.

“They were actually the first school that started recruiting me out of all the schools that I had,” Chatman said. “Just them sticking it out and respecting everything, the process I was going through, that kind of was (a factor), just because I felt that I got to know them a little bit more on unofficials and stuff like that and I was able to get to know the players more and the coaches more. I think that played a factor.”

The journey is not over for the class of 2014, though Chatman’s commitment is a very significant step. Michigan is still in the fight for other top recruits, including top-50 player Jonah Bolden. Donte Grantham is also very much in the mix and is scheduled to decide between Michigan and Clemson on Friday. James Blackmon Jr. visited Michigan officially last weekend and Devin Booker and DJ Wilson will visit this weekend.

Luckily, Chatman and Grantham did some bonding at the Notre Dame game — and Chatman is already putting on his recruiting hat.

“I’m gonna turn it over now and get on my recruit tip,” Chatman said. “I’m a good advertiser, so I’m gonna try this out and see how it goes. I was talking to (Grantham) this weekend, so I was gonna try to get at him.”

Along with getting Grantham on the line, Chatman also received congratulatory texts from Caris LeVert, Nik Satuskas, Mitch McGary, Jordan Morgan and others from Michigan’s basketball program.

After a late scare from prognosticators predicting Chatman would land at Arizona — a prediction both Chatman and his father were perplexed by, given that neither of them talked to media during the time Chatman was taking his visits — Chatman is a Wolverine. And while it’s an exciting time, it also brings relief to a young man who’s been imbedded in the high-profile recruiting world for almost two years.

“At the end of the day, for him to get to this point, it’s not just, ‘I’m tired of going through the process, let’s hurry up and make this decision’; it’s, ‘I’m tired, so really let me slow down and focus on the things that are important,’” Mr. Chatman said. “Kameron is not a secret at all. With that has been a lot of pressures both personally and corporately with shoe affiliations and all that stuff, but through that he felt comfortable in his decision and where he was going. And for him to make a decision to go 2,400 miles away from home, there had to be some things that were in place that would make us comfortable with it.”

Chatman himself felt relief from the process being over, but he is also clearly confident in his decision.

“It was a long recruiting process,” Chatman said. “Everybody was kind of weighing in on me. And after I took my officials and talking about it, I was ready to get this over with.

“Michigan is just the place for me.”

  • mountain52

    Welcome Kameron and go Blue!

  • DB

    You’ve mentioned a couple of times that him being left handed will help him play the stretch 4. How does that help?

    • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

      Based on the positioning of the four man in Beilein’s offense. A lot of time spent driving with the left hand.

      • Tyrell

        I know it is still way to early to put any mock line-ups together, but do you think he can guard a PF? Obviously Kam at the 4 would make the Michigan offense extremely potent, especially if we got another SG in the 2014-2015 recruiting class.

        • Adam St Patrick

          I am just guessing, but the 4 spot is probably the fastest way to minutes if Irvin is still around. I don’t see Stauskas leaving after Year 2, and if Irvin stays for his sophmore year the lineup will be crowded everywhere but the 4 spot — unless somebody on the current roster stakes a claim.

          • guestavo

            Walton/Spike/Chatman?
            Irvin/Stauskas/Levert/ Chatman
            Stauskas/Irvin/Levert/ Chatman/ Bolden/ Wilson or Grantham
            Bolden/ Chatman/ Wilson or Grantham/ Donnal
            Doyle/Donnal

            No matter who we take as commitments, our players are so versatile, we will have tons of depth at every position. I say take the best player available. Levert and Stauskas leave after 2 years and Irvin is maybe 2 and done. Wilson maybe should redshirt, if we get him. We could also go really small at times with a guy like Bolden or Grantham at center alas Miami Heat.

          • guestavo

            Forgot Horford as well

          • Champswest

            What about Bielfeldt?

          • guestavo

            No offense, bit I don’t see him ever getting major minutes. Maybe in a small ball lineup at the 5?

  • Tyrell

    I take back what I said about JB needing to take a quick lesson from Groce for the in home visit. Great job Coach JB! Great job Michigan! You guys just landed a great recruit! And now the greasiness in me comes out – now lets get Grantham, Booker, and Bolden!

    • Guest

      I have no idea why you made this statement given JB’s track record of evaluating and nabbing top caliber recruit. That was dumb back then and still is dumb now.

      • Tyrell

        I don’t want to get into a battle with anyone today, especially after getting a great recruit. My point is this, people should always try to learn new things and constantly try to make themselves better. Coaches can learn from other successful coaches (ie Bill Belichick implementing Chip Kelly’s hurry up offense last year). That is all I am saying so don’t try to put any other words in my mouth.

        • serious

          This would be a decent point if Beilein wasn’t constantly evolving his offense. Beilein also has repeatedly mentioned that if you don’t evolve your system you will not survive. Your criticism falls short considering this.

          • Tyrell

            I am not talking about offense here. I am talking about learning from anyone who is successful at anything they do. In this case, I was saying since Groce (or really anyone who is a successful recruiter like Self, Coach K, etc.) has had some success, it could be beneficial to learn from them and try to figure out who to implement the things that make them successful.

            No one is above learning from others since Chip Kelly was good at offense Bill Belichick learned from him to help the Patriots last year.

          • Brad S

            Groce has had a nice little career so far, but he’s not even in the same ballpark as the other guys you mentioned.

          • Mattski
          • serious

            My point is Beilein is not set in his ways – he is always looking to improve, even if it means breaking routine. He is always trying to make himself better, and he has mentioned numerous times that he has looked to others to better himself.

            There is no point in pointing this out.

    • Adam St Patrick

      Good on ya for giving JB credit where its due. We knew he could spot them early, but with McGary and now Chatman we’re seeing that he can also go toe-to-toe in recruiting battles with other big programs. Hopefully we’ll get more of those types of recruiting wins too. I get the sense that we’d take Booker over Blackmon, but Blackmon in particular would be a confidence-builder given Michigan wasn’t the first suitor as it so often is.

      • Tyrell

        Believe me I eat crow when I need too. I have been a JB supporter and he has been my favorite coach back when he was with West Virginia and I never wanted any of this to come across l didn’t appreciate or love JB.

  • Indiana_Matt

    Bolden top 25?

    • Joe Stapleton

      Fixed. Was looking at 247 rankings rather than composite. Thanks.

  • sane1

    Great interview, Joe, with a lot of insights from dad. Sounds like Kam was leaning to Michigan all along. I feel pretty good about getting Grantham, too.

  • Kenny

    I guess if Grantham goes to Clemson, we will wait on Bolden. Hope the commitment of Chatman also cast a positive influence in Blackmon and Booker.

    • orbob

      Wilson, if Grantham goes to Clemson.

  • Tyrell

    I like that Kam said he is putting on his recruiters hat now. Hopefully he can help us get some other great recruits for the 2014-2015 season.

  • Mattski

    When the parents are so lucid about the process–as we often see with M recruits–you get a good feeling about how the kid will prosper under Beilein.

  • jkuofm27

    I really like going after these guys with strong fatherly influences. There is a grounding in these young men that money can’t buy and fame won’t fix. That opinion might not be popular and it is not a guarantee of success, but it gives an increase to the statistical probability of headiness, hard work and discipline that are staples of JB’s system.

  • AADave

    Huge recruiting win for Michigan! I have to admit I was getting pessimistic about recruiting this year. But in basketball, one recruit can make all the difference. Not only is Michigan getting an elite player (average of rankings is top 35 in the country) but a new top recruiter who makes it more likely that other top recruits will pick Michigan. The odds of a Booker, Blackmon, Grantham and/or Bolden also coming to Michigan have risen significantly. Singlehandedly though, Chatman makes the class a good one in my mind. Booker or Blackmon would make it a great one.

    • Mattski

      Yes, you do have to hope that this has positive benefits with remaining guys, too.

  • Webbdog

    Reading this article I now see how most teams are Recruiting against Michigan, And I cant say its Negative recruiting or that big of an Issue. It seems other Schools Knew how much Kameron and a lot of Kids nowadays are Enamored by Nike & Jordan Products. I think that is used by The Nike Schools (Kentucky/Arizona/Florida/Ohio) against Michigan, UCLA, Indiana and Kansas. You would think such a thing wouldnt matter, But these are 15-17 year old Kids. If a Kid thinks he is Pro bound and on his way To Superstardom Most would Love to be Like MJ, Kobe, Lebron, KD, Melo and CP3 Rolling with The Nike Brand and in That Fraternity. Though Adidas has a few Stars themselves of Late and are gaining Momentum, They Still dont Compare to Nike.

    • sane1

      Kansas is an Adidas school. and Andrew Wiggins actually asked Self when he’d be allowed to wear his Nike gear if he committed to them.

  • chazer

    “So moving forward, he was being recruited as a two/three with the ability to play some one. Coach Beilein sees him playing one, just because he does have the ability to facilitate; he’s a great passer, he handles the ball extremely well…..
    He sees a one?
    This young man is extremely versatile….looks like he will get bigger. Guys like this help make great runs into Final Fours because of match up problems…Sounds like a non typical B1G team…big wings and big athletes that can shoot the ball and run, run, run!!
    If we add either Booker or Blackmon….reload baby!!

    • Guest

      I believe that Chatman was asked to be in the PG group in one of the basketball camp by the counselors which tells you what they thought of his basketball ability.

      • Webbdog

        Thats why I was never worried like the others with this Recruitment, Soon after His Official Visit his Father Tweeted a Pic with the Team and ended it with #Jalen Rose 2.0. He also took part as a guard at the Nike 2013 Point Guard Skills Academy which Host the Top 15-20 High School Point Guards / Top 10 College Point Guards. I think he will be afforded Every Chance to Play the Pg position, and others of course, once he steps foot on Campus. So yeah the Jalen Rose comparisons were Big IMO.

        • chazer

          Well Done WEBBDOG….Nice pickup on the Jalen Rose comparison! The young man looks like he can really handle the rock. Just another problem for the competition. Yea, I don’t like losing transfers, this culture JB has is sound and tight. Up to know they have played for each other….
          GO BLUE!

    • guestavo

      I’d welcome either but to me Bolden > Booker or Blackmon Jr. Another guard might make the 1/2/3 positions to logjam. I don’t want to see any transfers :(

  • E_Anderson

    UM – 1 NCAA title, 5 runner ups, 7 final fours
    AZ – 1 NCAA title, 1 runner up, 4 final fours.
    UM has much, much better academics, and the largest alum base.
    Great choice Kameron!! Welcome to the Wolverine family.

  • Wayman Britt

    William how is that football coach working out.

  • William_Barue

    He’s a clown, please take him back.

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