Part of the Adidas basketball Boost Forward 2014 recruit preview series
According to 247Sports, Kameron Chatman is the No. 33-ranked prospect of 2014.
However, Michigan coach John Beilein would probably disagree with that assessment, instead tabbing the Long Beach Poly superstar as No. 1 on his list.
At 6’7" and 197 pounds, Chatman has the length, agility, athleticism, and well, beautifully polished skill set that will translate to just about any position once he joins the Wolverines this fall.
With versatility as his obvious upside, Chatman should quickly become Beilein’s favorite toy. Part of that will probably be by choice, but the other will be out of necessity—Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas are likely NBA-bound, leaving Beilein a tad short in the play-making department.
Known for his lethal accuracy, range and overall handle of this game called basketball, Stauskas, 6’6," 202-pound do-all, has early-first-rounder written all over him. He’s made one of the most prolific single-season leaps in recent memory, moving from a solid contributor to bonafide headliner in a matter of months.
He’ll make an NBA franchise very happy. Probably somewhere along the perimeter…or maybe while driving the lane.
That being said, Robinson III, a 6’6," 220-pound mound of clay waiting to be molded, should make it easy for general managers to say "yes" on draft day. Granted, his inconsistent, up-and-down rollercoaster play leaves a lot to be desired.
But he’s most certainly next-level material.
No Stauskas? No Little Dog?
That leaves Derrick Walton, Caris LeVert, Zak Irvin and possibly Mitch McGary holding the reins of an ultra-talented offense.
Now throw Chatman into the equation—that equals success and a possible national-title tilt.
Get ready to hand over the keys, to the kids, coach. They're ready to drive. And there’s room for passengers—D.J. Wilson (No. 41 SF) and Ricky Doyle (No. 50 PF) are on the way, too.
Beilein is developing the Midas touch with multi-layer personnel
If national-title appearances aren’t enough to tickle your fancy, well, an outright NCAA championship will surely do the trick.
In today’s game, teams are increasingly finding success with Swiss Army Knife-like players. A place for specialists remains in the big picture, but coaches want guys who can do everything—those guys lead to net-cutting activities.
From a relative unknown to a college hoops poster boy, Stauskas is a perfect example of Beilein’s new-breed baller. Chatman’s skill set differs to a degree, but he’s a scorer, distributor and defender. And as long as numbers appear on the stat sheet, it won’t make one bit of difference how he scores or who he looks like while blanketing dribblers.
Beilein would obviously want to fill the all-over role after Stauskas—who also rebounds—goes pro. If not a carbon copy, Chatman can be a similar facilitator/scorer. For what it’s worth, Chatman’s game is closer to Robinson III’s.
Don’t let his move to the paint fool you; he grew up playing both guard positions.
And the lefty can shoot.
Ricky and DJ
They’re big and they can score
At this point, the summary of the 2014 class could end up sounding like a broken record. Yeah, Beilein is stockpiling mid-6-footers who can run the court, pass, dunk, shoot, defend and everything else in between.
Each versatile in their own right, Chatman is a classic all-around threat, whereas Ricky Doyle and D.J. Wilson could have more defined roles within the Wolverines’ scheme.
At 6’9" and 235 pounds, think of Doyle as a lighter, quicker, slightly more finesse-y version of McGary, who is 6’10" and about 255. Like McGary, Doyle moves well without the ball and knows how to use floor space to his advantage.
Whether in the post or floating along the baseline for a quick 12-footer or clamoring for rebounds, Doyle stands to add a particular feel and flow to the frontcourt—it won’t be so stationary and should be flexible enough to contend with today’s flex-fronts featured at Duke, Kansas and Arizona.
Is Wilson a 3 or 4? At 6’8" and 200 pounds, landing at one of those positions seems inevitable. But again, this is another flexible player for Beilein—he’ll go wherever the wind takes him (per UMHoops.com’s Joe Stapleton):
That was a big thing for me. We sat down and talked about it. With Glenn Robinson leaving, there’s going to be a void at that four position, and coach said that’s probably going to be the position I’m playing, the three and four. … It’s an uptempo offense, so all I have to do is get the rebound and outlet, or if I don’t have an outlet, I can push the ball in transition, which is what I’m doing right now in high school. It was just a perfect fit for me, especially seeing as how I’m going to be playing with Kam (Chatman) and hopefully Devin Booker, those guys can really spread the floor and pass and find the fours and the other guys. And Derrick (Walton), the point guard, can really find players and get them the ball, so it was a perfect fit.
He’s not getting Booker, who committed to Kentucky.
And, of course, Chatman, the crown jewel of the Wolverines' 2014 class, will be available as well.
Michigan basketball was once known for the Fab 5. However, under Beilein, it’s becoming synonymous with 5-tool underclassmen.
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