Michigan picked up what was probably it's biggest commitment of the 2014 class last night in Kameron Chatman from Portland, OR. Chatman is listed as 6'6 and 197 lbs. He is a 4* according to both the 247Composite rankings and the 247 rankings. He is an elite recruit and was receiving serious attention from many schools including Arizona, Connecticut, UCLA, and USC among others.
Chatman is a great prospect for the Wolverines, but what might be even more significant is that he has the potential to fill an immediate need upon arriving to Ann Arbor. As of now, most speculation is that sophomore Glenn Robinsion III will be entering the NBA Draft following this season (he is currently projected to be a 1st round pick). This figures to be a big loss for Michigan as he was a intergral part of Michigan's Final Four run and a member of the All-Big Ten Freshmen Team last season.
Chatman has the potential to fill the void opened by GR3 almost immediately. There are differences between the players, but both have similar sizes and skillsets. Chatman might have a more difficult time being a stretch four than GR3, but Chatman is probably a little lengthier than GR3. Plus, with a deeper frontcourt, playing stretch four might not even be an issue when Chatman gets to campus. He's a flexible player that could fill many different roles, which makes it likely that he will be on the floor early and often as a true freshman.
Skills: The best skill Chatman has is his versatile skillset. Chatman is a lengthy player with an enormous arm-span, but has the ability to play like a guard. In fact, he actually has experience playing at point guard. He can run an offense, use ball screens effectively, and can make some really nice no look passes. This is not something you see very often in players the size of Chatman. This gives Beilein another ball-handler on the floor that can do damage if the defenses try to press and hedge against the guards. Outside of his ability to handle the ball and run an offense, Chatman can also shoot pretty well and has a great left handed floater. This is something that will be deadly if he plays at the small forward spot and gets matched up against smaller defenders. When he gets inside and uses this shot, it can do a lot of damage. The final thing worth noting is that Chatman has a lot better low post game than many might assume. It's unlikely he will ever use this much in serious game action, but if he gets bigger and Beilein plays him at power forward, it could be useful.
Areas For Improvement: The biggest thing Chatman will probably have to do before getting to Ann Arbor is hit the weight room. Bulking up is not essential for basketball players, but if Chatman truly wants to live up to his potential, he will need to get more physical. He has the ability to play the 1-4 spots, but facing true bigs can be physically demanding for a stretch four player. If he can get bigger and stronger, it's going to go a long way in getting him on the floor in different spots and matchups. Along with this, using his length more effectively on defense is something for improvement. With his length, he has the possibility to be a really tough defender against smaller players.
Overall: Chatman is a great player and easily one of the top guys on Michigan's 2014 recruiting board. The commitment may have been a surprise, but he brings a lot to the floor that won't be soon forgotten. He fills a big need for Michigan in 2014 and could be one of the key guys that keeps Michigan at its level of play in recent years. His size, length, and skillset could make him a matchup nightmare at small forward and his versatility could get him on the floor elsewhere as well. This is a big pickup for Michigan and should be exciting for fans.