The lengthy 6-foot-7 forward has been a starter since his first day on campus. A left handed shot by trade, Chatman is now penciled in the lineup for the departed Glenn Robinson III, who took his talents to the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves this off-season.
And while replacing Robinson’s 13.1 points, 4.4 rebounds per game production is easier said than done, Chatman skill-set should be equipped do that.
Why? Well, his passing skills are his most notable skill, Chatman says, who will be starting his first game of his U-M career in Saturday’s season opener versus Hillsdale College.
“I think the best part of my game is my passing,” Chatman said. “I’m a good passer. I like to look for my teammates. It just makes the game easier for me. And I think it helps when I’m aggressive looking to score as well. It draws defenders, and I’m able to look for my teammates.”
Chatman’s passing kills have caused U-M coach John Beilein to define his position as a “point-forward” in the Michigan offense.
“[His position] is like a point-forward type of position where we want a lot of assists,” Beilein said. “We want you to be a small forward, big guard who can also rebound and defend a bigger player.”
Being the bigger guard in Beilein’s four guard offense, means Chatman will be matched up with power forwards most of the time. Although, Beilein sees that as positive for the Wolverines.
“The good side is their bigger player has to defend you,” Beilein said.
That being said, Beilein was quick to note other qualities’ of his latest freshman sensation.
“He is a good shooter,” Beilein said. “I think it’s really natural for him to be on that side . And now throw in that he’s left handed. You’re sprinting out your left handed quarterback to the left side a lot.”
However, Chatman admits there has been some adjustments getting used to the speed and physicality of the college game. But learning Beilein’s offense may be the toughest.
“Probably the offense,” Chatman said, when asked what the was the hardest part of his freshman transition. “I think there is so much stuff that you have to click in the spot. But I think I’m doing pretty good.”
But did admit he was a little overwhelmed in the beginning.
“Yeah, a little bit, I was overwhelmed like ‘Oh man, this is way different than high school,” Chatman said. “I mean, after a while you start picking it up a little bit. Once your teammates start helping you out, you become better and start picking things up better.”