Most places, the term “21 year old freshman” may seem peculiar to most. Not at BYU. After serving a two-year church mission directly after high school, freshman guard Jordan Chatman will finally don a Cougar uniform for the 2014-2015 season. And, you guessed it, he will indeed be a 21 year old freshman.
It will be interesting to see if Chatman can mimic the success of returned missionaries in recent seasons. Two seasons ago, Tyler Haws emerged as a star after returning from the Philippines. Last season, Kyle Collinsworth came home from Russia and promptly established himself as a key player. It should be noted that both Haws and Collinsworth did play a season at BYU before their two-year service; however, I’m fairly certain BYU fans would be thrilled if Chatman could follow up his years in Taiwan with even half the success that Haws and Collinsworth had in their post-mission debut seasons.
Prior to signing with BYU, Chatman had garnered interest from teams such as Washington State, Stanford, and Utah. He is the son of former BYU All-American forward Jeff Chatman. He returned from Taiwan in late March. All seven of his siblings have names that start with the letter J. His sister, Jessica, is a BYU women’s basketball commit who is currently serving a mission. While Jordan was listed at 6’4″ 190-195 by recruiting sites as a high school senior, current photos like this one from his father’s twitter feed seem to suggest he may be pushing 6’6″.
Speaking of that photo, does Jamal Aytes not look cuttttt? Yes, cut with 5 T’s. Extra chiseled.
At Union High School
Jordan Chatman was named the 2012 Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Washington. He was also named Mr. Basketball 2012 by the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association. He put up approximately 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists a game as a senior. In the 4A state tournament, Chatman poured in 27 points a game. Union’s tournament run ended in a most unique way, as their penultimate possession saw the referees downgrade Chatman’s three-point runner to a two-pointer. With the lead then (wrongly) adjusted to four, this 80-foot buzzer-beating heave by Chatman left Union High with a one-point loss and a pile of what-ifs.
Impact at BYU
The opportunity is certainly there for the taking, although it will not be easy.
With Matt Carlino’s transfer and Kyle Collinsworth’s knee injury, there are minutes to be had at the point guard position. Although Chatman could be considered a combo guard, as Jordan’s father told Dick Harmon of the Deseret News, Jordan’s “the kind of player who can feed the ball and make others better.” With his vision and playmaking ability, he certainly can run the point. As Union High coach Maco Hamilton told The Oregonian, Chatman is “always looking to make the correct decision with the ball.” He is described as having a high skill set, good court vision, and a high basketball IQ. As for the defensive end, his length would give any opposing point guard fits.
What he may run into, however, is the huge buzzsaw of a logjam of an increasingly packed roster. Freshmen Jake Toolson and Dalton Nixon, who both had been offered scholarships with the intent to leave for missionary service, have now ended up at BYU and will play as walk-ons. Frank Bartley IV, Skyler Halford, Chase Fischer, Anson Winder, and Tyler Haws will all be looking get time on the guard line. Once KC returns, the situation gets more crowded. Practices should be intense this season. How often is it that a team offers scholarships to players, and then those players walk-on to the team?
A lot will shake itself out on the way to the season opener. Surely, Coach Rose will redshirt some of the 16 players currently on the roster, so a strong showing in practices will be imperative for all the new players who want to grab some playing time. What Chatman has going for him is the ability to excel at the point guard position and fit into that role. While Bartley or Winder or Fischer could probably run the point, they’re best suited to do the most damage on the wings. Chatman’s eyes up, playmaking mentality makes him well-suited to bridge the point guard gap while Collinsworth is on the mend. I will reiterate, though – a strong showing in October will determine who Coach Rose will place in his rotation and who may end up getting the redshirt. Even with the point guard fit, Chatman will need to compete hard and earn his minutes.