Unlike Monday's preview subjects, these two are the headliners of Michigan's 2014 class. In fact, Michigan's two stretch forwards have a lot in common. Both committed in October, just days apart. Both are considered four-star recruits to at least one service, Both come from the west coast. And both will be looking to fill a big hole at the four position this winter for Michigan.
Kam Chatman was the first of the two to commit to Michigan, doing so on October 2nd. The six-foot-seven forward is a four-star player to all of the recruiting services, and is easily in the top-50 recruits of the class. Michigan won out against a trio of tough west coast suitors in Arizona, USC, and Oregon. Chatman is a left-handed stretch four with a well rounded set of offensive skills. He doesn't have the athleticism to match what Glenn Robinson III brought to the position last year, but his game should be a good fit for what Michigan needs.
Four days after Chatman picked Michigan, Sacramento, CA forward DJ Wilson pledged for the Wolverines. The six-foot-nine forward was a consensus three-star when he committed, but picked up a fourth star from Rivals and was still a consensus top-150 player as a three-star. Wilson picked Michigan over Columbia, Cal and Gonzaga.
Chatman's game is that of a very big guard. In fact, he played primarily as a point guard before a big growth spurt left him four inches taller but with all the skills of a one. He has excellent ball skills for a six-foot-seven forward, a good touch on his shot, and the ability to play in the backcourt if needed. Michigan will look to use his left-handedness to its advantage, putting him at the four, which is a natural spot for leftys in John Beilein's offense (the four attacks right to left). He won't remind anyone of Glenn Robinson III, as his game is more about smarts and savvy than simply jumping over or running around people, but he has enough skill to perhaps fit better in MIchigan's offense.
Wilson's game is about length. His lanky six-foot-nine frame comes in handy on defense and in rebounding, and it also makes his nice jump shot very hard to get to. Wilson is a true stretch-four, with a nice three-point stroke from the wing, the ability to put the ball on the floor, and the size to match up against opposing forwards. His biggest issue will be gaining the strength to manage against college front lines.
Summer In Italy
Chatman fit well in Michigan's offense in Italy, although he had issues shooting the ball at times, ending the trip with a 33% mark from outside. He did score 9.5 points while adding 4 rebounds and 2.5 assists. Mostly, he showed that while struggling with the kinds of issues freshman do, that his skill set is going to fit in well with a Michigan offense that prizes ball movement, ball security, and efficient shooting.
DJ Wilson was unable to participate because of a broken finger.
While Michigan missed out on a valuable chance to get DJ Wilson some experience this summer, the team looks well set up for success at the four over the next few years. Chatman should fit well in an already smart, crisp passing lineup, and with Michigan setting up the offense primarily with Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton, Chatman will be able to use his skills and smarts to outmaneuver defense from the wing to set up good scoring and assist options. Wilson will be more of an x-factor this year. He has the size and skill baseline to develop into an NBA prospect, but it will depend on just where he is physically.
Michigan will look to get 25-30 minutes a game out of Chatman, and will likely look for Wilson to fill in for another 10-15 depending on how fast he progresses after the injury sidetracked his off season. There is enough positional flexibility at the four to move someone like Mark Donnal down or Zak Irvin up, but Michigan will be its most devastating if these two can make a positive impact early.