Italy Rewind: Kameron Chatman

Dylan Burkhardt

Welcome to “Italy Rewind,” our player-by-player recap and video feature from Michigan’s four-game tour of Italy. Previously: Zak Irvin, Ricky Doyle
Kameron Chatman is going to play the same position that Glenn Robinson III filled for the past two seasons, but he’s going to provide a very different look. Chatman isn’t the athlete that Robinson is and he’s certainly not going to rack up as many highlight dunks, but his unique skill set could actually be a better fit for the four position in Michigan’s offense.

There’s a very natural quality to Chatman’s game. He fits in, makes the correct passes and is almost always in the right spot to score. He’s never quite the focal point of the offense, but he does just enough that you never forget he’s involved.

Chatman was up and down shooting the ball in Italy – his 47.5 eFG% was the worst among Michigan’s rotation players — but his stroke looks much improved from his time in high school. He was very effective in the mid-range game, he rebounded, he pushed the ball up the floor and made a number of crisp passes.

By the numbers

Kameron Chatman 9.5 4.3 2.5 46.4% 33.3% 47.5% 30.0% 0.0% 0.0%

After just eight practices and before Michigan left for Italy, John Beilein didn’t hesitate to praise Chatman’s knowledge of the game.

“His basketball IQ has been outstanding,” Beilein said before the tour. “He’s picked up some of our concepts and some of our actions as quick as anybody we’ve ever had. He’s been very productive as far as his talk and his knowledge of the game.”

Picking up Michigan’s offense is no easy task and Chatman already looks comfortable on the floor. He demonstrated the ability to pass the ball off of ball screens and push the ball in transition off of defensive rebounds – two skills that are invaluable for Beilein wings. Playing as a natural left-hander, he has the tools to be the best playmaker that Michigan has had on the right side of the floor under John Beilein.

Defensively, he could struggle against bigger four men, but he managed to grab four rebounds per game during the tour. His ability, like the rest of Michigan’s wings, to get on the glass will be critical with such an inexperienced frontcourt.

Chatman posted well rounded numbers in Europe, with averages of 9.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, but there were a couple of voids in his game. Through four games in Italy, he didn’t attempt a single free throw despite ranking fourth on Michigan’s roster in shot attempts. His ability to get to the basket rather than settle for a mid-range jumper will be one area to track early on in his career.

Watching the 6-foot-7 West coast native play on film, it’s clear that he’s still finding where he fits with some of his new teammates. On one possession he’d throw the perfect ball screen pass, on the next he would be just a split second late on his read.

“We’ve just been getting a feel for things,” Chatman said before the trip. “ We’ve just been learning each other. Just knowing how people play. Who can shoot it, who can rebound it or who can push it.”

While Chatman figures out his teammates, John Beilein is figuring out where best to use his versatile forward.

“We’re still trying to find out the sweet spots of his game,” Beilein explained. “And (teach him) when it’s time to make a play and be a player.”

It will take a while for Chatman and Beilein to find the proper balance, but it’s only August and Beilein couldn’t ask for a more versatile piece to tinker with leading up to the season.

  • UMHoopsFan

    Kam is going to be a very good player at Michigan. While he doesn’t have GRIII’s hops, he’s not a bad athlete, and is one of those guys with good body control and timing that gets open and boards even without exploding by guys – but it might take some time to adjust to the college level. Snagging boards will be a key and a huge advantage, because you can already see the value in having him grab the board and everyone else takes off on the break. Keeping his 3 pt shot % at 33% or higher will also be key. Defensively he could get pushed around, but how many power 4s will UM face this year?

    • Yep. This was a great week for him IMO. He’s the guy at the four and I think people will like what he brings to the table.

    • Trask

      I also love that he is not afraid to shoot the ball. GR3 would sometimes become to complacent, when we needed a scorer. Kam is not afraid to shoot, and his shots will fall, and we will be glad for it. Just keep that 3 point respectable, as you said, and another big10 championship here we come.

  • Jersey Jay

    Strong passer, knocks down the open jumper, and can mix it up off the dribble. Very versatile 4-man in this offense.

  • Northern Blue

    Doesn’t finish or get down the court as fast asGR3, but he can handle it and start the fast break. Looks like a starting line up with 4 guys that can grab a rebound and push.
    Also, jumper exceeded my expectations. Much like last year, this team will win with great perimeter shootng and holding on to the ball. 5 guys that can really stroke it that will have the majority of minutes 1 – 4.

  • mikey_mac

    I would be surprised to see Kam’s rebound numbers impress during the season, but I think that’s where LeVert and Walton come in. Solid box outs should suffice for this team’s purpose, as was the case for GR3.

  • Johnny Duris

    Does anyone remember Willie Mitchell? Gives me that kind of vibe in the way he moves and is built. Seems to have a similar skill set.

    • Indiana_Matt

      Detroit Willie from Fab5 II. I get that vibe a little as well. Always felt we did a bad job of managing all the talent we had then. I think he was hurt a bit though. Finished at UAB.

  • Webbdog

    I still say play the kid at the Pg position let him man the point behind Derrick Walton. That’s his natural position! Then he can seize control if we miss out on DTJr or other Pgs in 16′.

    • Trask

      I think this year he is a 4, and next year with Caris gone, he slides down to the 2 position. Should have DJ playing the 4 mainly, with some Donnal/Dawkins, while Irvin mans the 3. Spike and MAAR maintain backup PG spots. NBA scouts will take notice of his 2 guard ball handling skills. If he is around for 3 years, he has a good chance of playing some PG a la Caris last season, but still playing largely the 2.

      • John

        Why? KC can handle the ball but why put him at the #2 position when he is the perfect #4 guy. A matchup nightmare. Has the size, reach and the ability to do whatever JB needs. Why not put Wilson potentially at the #3 although I would probably keep him at the #4.
        KC could in theory play the #2 and post up defenders but JB doesn’t run that system plus KC is perfect on the baseline. He isn’t that great of a perimeter shooter out beyond a certain distance.
        Luv KC at the #4. He will never move IMO.

        • Trask

          True, he does play a good 4, and I tend to forget how well the left handedness plays at the 4 position. However, we did see last year (even though it ended up not really happening) was Beilein willing to play players at the position they will play in the NBA if they ask for it. mcgary/gr3. I think KC more of a 2 guard in the NBA and may push for being able to show off his ball handling for NBA scouts. If he ends up staying at the 4, I think we will all be quite content.