A former five-star recruit and the No. 23 overall player in the 2014 class, Chatman was the headliner of a class pieced together late following the departures of three Wolverines to the NBA draft.
But what came to Ann Arbor on paper didn’t translate as seamlessly or quickly as many would have hoped.
Chatman began the season starting at the four spot in John Beilein’s offense, many expecting the Oregon native to help fill the shoes of Glenn Robinson III despite matching up against players much bigger.
“I had to get used to the physicality,” Chatman said. “Older guys; I wasn’t in high school anymore.
“It was grown men that you’re playing against so it took a while to get used to that. I think I took to it and got used to it and the game started slowing down a little bit.”
What the Wolverines received was a freshman shooting 31-percent from the field while averaging 3.6 points and 2.5 rebounds per game, ultimately losing his starting role by the midway point of the 2014-15 season.
Even so, Chatman says there are several reasons he was able to keep his chin up.
“Just having good teammates, a good coaching staff and staying positive,” Chatman said. “They had confidence in me and just staying in the gym, that’s mainly what you have to do when you go through something like that.”
The good news for Michigan is Chatman’s attitude is in the right place, looking to make big improvements heading into year two.
Perhaps even better, flashes of his potential began to shine through toward the end of the season including a 13-point outburst in Michigan’s final regular season win at home against Rutgers.
After such a rough freshman year, Chatman and the rest of the freshmen class decided to stick around campus for spring and summer to work closely with strength and conditioning coordinator Jon Sanderson.
“Just having the season we had we kind of felt it as motivation,” he said. “We don’t want to feel like this (again).”
“The freshmen class just, since July, we became close,” added Chatman. “And it was kind of a decision that we made but we just want to get better and stay here to become the best we can be.”
And Chatman’s focus inside the William Davidson Player Development Center will be on everything.
“With Coach Sanderson, explosiveness, physicality and all types of things,” Chatman said. “Just working on your skills, ball handling, working with coaches like Coach Vall, Coach Meyer, Coach BA, and individual skills.
“That’s what the whole spring is about.”