Damian Lillard Mentoring Chatman, U-M Awaits

Adding a diversified skill set to the mix for a young Michigan basketball team, 2014 Portland wing Kameron Chatman will have the opportunity to contribute right away for the Wolverines, already working out with a budding NBA star.

Over the last two seasons Michigan basketball put together a 59-17 mark that included a Big Ten regular season championship, two straight Elite Eight appearances, and a national title appearance in 2013.

Heading into the 2014-15 season, the Wolverines will have a much different look, youth still very prevalent especially after the early departures of Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary.

The centerpiece of Michigan’s incoming freshman class, a class that will be counted on to carry on Michigan’s success, is the No. 23 overall player in the country and five-star do it all wing Kameron Chatman.

“We always put our hard hat on so he knew that going to Michigan, it doesn’t matter who stayed or who left, you’re always going to have your hands full battling for playing time in the Big Ten,” Chatman’s father said. “Obviously with three guys taking off that creates some opportunities for Kameron to be more of an impact his freshman year than probably he would’ve been allowed if those three guys had stayed, just more of a learning curve kind of like how Caris LeVert played a support role his freshman year or whatever.

“But now, just kind of being in the mix, our anticipation is him getting thrown in there kind of like how Derrick Walton did. The big piece for him is he plays so many positions that he’s going to find a way to be on the floor. Shoot, he can be on the point or run it the one to the four and I thought Coach Beilein and the whole staff thinks it’s great as well.”

With a skillset and 6-foot-8 frame that allows for an inside out game, the Michigan coaching staff hasn’t expressed exactly where Chatman could line up first once he arrives on campus at the end of June.

Judging by the returners, Chatman’s father thinks he sees where his son will fit.

“They haven’t expressed anything but numbers and just looking at it, I would think a healthy Derrick, Caris and Zak would probably be your three guards mainly,” Chatman’s father said. “Kameron would definitely be a fourth guard or he could be one of the forwards.

“He’s definitely 6-8, 210 right now and he hasn’t even gotten the chance to spend time with Coach Sanderson or any of that stuff so being down there for the summer and into the fall we expect him to be a totally different player come the season than he is today or whatever so, we’re just looking to get him down there.”

Still out in Portland, Chatman has recently been working out with and leaning on one of the Trailblazers young stars.

“He has got an opportunity, since the playoffs stopped, Damian Lillard has put his arm around him kind of and so he’s been doing some workouts with Damian Lillard and his camp or whatever,” he said. “And they’ve been killing him. Kam says it’s some of the hardest stuff he’s ever done.

“That all kind of started last week I think so he’s kicked it in a little bit. Damian got knocked out of the playoffs, took like one day off and he’s back in the gym getting ready for next season so, that’s a good mentor.”

Before Michigan kicks off their season next fall, the Wolverines will have the opportunity to take the floor opposite professional teams in Europe.

With five true freshmen and redshirt freshman Mark Donnal all on the roster, the exhibitions overseas will be critical for such an inexperienced team.

“The timing couldn’t be better,” Chatman’s father said. “Even coming off what Glenn and Trey and Stauskas did, shoot they didn’t even get a Europe trip and they had great careers so getting an opportunity to be able to take that trip before the fall is an excellent opportunity.

“Obviously, for the parents too because we plan to go and be able to see that as well. But just for Kameron to get a chance, even just to bond, sometimes the summers can get a little monotonous, you get a little home sick, it’s hot and it’s just not the same being in the gym with three or four guys.

“Being able to mix that up, get on a plane, spend some time abroad with your teammates and get a chance to get some game action and get some early coaching in doesn’t do anything but play to their advantage.”

Joining Chatman in the trek cross-country from the west coast to Ann Arbor is forward D.J. Wilson.

The future teammates are already connecting on and off the court.

“This spring he got a chance and kind of went out of his way in terms of just starting his leadership of reaching out to D.J. Wilson, spending some time with him,” Chatman’s father said. “We went down to Sacramento and spent a little time with D.J. and we had a little something going on in Seattle so D.J. came up for that.”

On Wilson Chatman adding, “I like D.J. He’s all of 6-10, he’s long, shoots it, can put it on the floor, super athletic, the motor isn’t where it needs to be but shoot if his motor was where it needs to be he’d probably be in the McDonald’s game, everybody has something they need to work on.

“They’re going to be good. I don’t know the other two kids we ended up getting. I know Ricky, I know Austin but I don’t know the other two kids we wound up getting but they’ve got a good class and it’s always good to come in with a lot of guys to lean on with structure and good camaraderie.”

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