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New Blue: Kameron Chatman

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Michigan picks up a big commitment from a consensus top-50 combo forward for the 2014 class. What does his commitment mean, and what does he bring to Michigan?

Yup, it'll probably look a lot like that.
Yup, it'll probably look a lot like that.
Gregory Shamus

Basketball recruitment is a different beast than its football cousin. The classes are smaller, kids are recruited longer, and the dead periods between action are long. Michigan's last basketball commit (Ricky Doyle) committed to Michigan almost seven months ago. In that time Michigan has picked up, oh, basically all of its 2014 football class, and a handful of 2015 commits.

But back to the matter at hand: Kameron Chatman was worth the wait.

6'7 197lbs
ESPN: 4*, #49
247: 4*, #36
Rivals: 4*, #29
Scout: 4* #23

That's a nice looking sheet. All four services rank Chatman as a four-star, he is just outside five-star status on two sites, and only ESPN doesn't hold him as one of the top-10 small forward prospects in the nation. Chatman, a Portland OR prospect who spent time in California, is largely a west-coast offer type of kid, but in that regard he was pursued by a who's who of basketball programs on the left coast. Arizona, UCLA, Gonzaga all offered, as did Oregon State, Oregon, USC. Back east he had an offer from UConn and some interest from Duke and MSU according to 247.

Chatman is long, lean and a really nice fit for the Beilein system. Think Glenn Robinson III last year. Chatman doesn't have a Stauskas-esque outside shot, but he is a capable shooter. He also brings a high motor, plenty of athleticism, and nice rebounding instincts to Michigan. All in all, he should be a versatile piece that Beilein can use anywhere from the 2 to 4 spot. Chatman has good ball skills. Brian Cook, in his commitment post for Chatman over at MGoBlog, mentions a four-inch growth spurt that turned Chatman from a 6'3 guard to a 6'7 wing and helped raise the kid's recruiting profile.

Michigan currently has two other players committed in the class of 2014, but it is assumed by many recruiting experts that Austin Hatch — who was badly injured in a plane crash (his second) that killed his father and stepmother — will not be playing (he will still get his scholarship, so no worries there). That leaves Michigan with two more open spots in the class.

Those spots could be filled by a number of high profile players. Names to keep an eye on right now are James Blackmon Jr., a four/five-star shooting guard out of Indiana who could be deciding soon (and whom John Belein recently visited). Michigan is in contention with Kentucky, Indiana, Louisville, Michigan State, and others. Donte Grantham, a top-100 forward out of West Virginia is also set to decide this week between Michigan and Clemson.

If you want more information about Chatman's recruitment, I strongly recommend the UMHoops piece from yesterday. A snippet:

According to Chatman's father and AAU coach Canaan Chatman, those predictions were truly vexing, considering neither he nor his son had talked to media during the time they were taking visits. Their silence, he said, was calculated specifically to avoid erroneous predictions.

"We approached Arizona media just like we approached you guys. We didn't talk to anybody," Mr. Chatman said. "So we got the information when everyone started forwarding us that it looks like Arizona, that Kameron's going to commit. Kameron and I looked at each other, like, ‘I didn't talk to anybody, did you talk to anybody?' Our approach the entire time, we didn't comment taking visits nor did we comment after visits because we didn't want people predicting. We just wanted to make sure we kept it honest, steered clear and didn't lean either way."

Joe Stapleton over at UMHoops does great work (as does Dylan), and this is a really awesome look into the way Michigan recruits and what kind of player and person the Wolverines are bringing on. Be sure to read it.