Detroit Mercy’s Kam Chatman declares for NBA Draft

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Tis the season for NBA Draft declarations.

Kam Chatman, the Detroit Mercy redshirt junior who began his career at Michigan, declared for the draft Wednesday, but said he will not hire an agent — leaving open a very strong possibility he'll return to school.

“Kam is a special talent and has been throughout his college career,” said Detroit Mercy head coach Bacari Alexander, an assistant at Michigan during Chatman's time there. “I’m excited for him to go through the process of discovering where he is in his pursuit of his dreams to become a pro player. We will help guide him through the process moving forward.”

In his first season with the Titans, Chatman, a 6-foot-9, 225-pound wing, led the team in scoring at 17.8 points per game, which also was good for fourth in the Horizon League. He also led the Titans with 8.3 rebounds, becoming the sixth Detroit Mercy player to lead the team in both categories in one year.

Chatman had 14 games in which he scored 20 or more points, despite missing nearly two weeks in the middle of the season after suffering a concussion. Twice, he scored at least 30, including a career-best 30 in an early season game at Fort Wayne.

The season earned him second-team All-Horizon League honors on a team that struggled as a whole, finishing 8-24.

Chatman sat out last season per NCAA rules after transferring from Michigan, where he never lived up to expectations, but did hit one memorable shot — a buzzer-beating 3 in the 2016 Big Ten tournament that sent Michigan past top-seeded Indiana and, according to most experts, secured the on-the-bubble Wolverines an NCAA Tournament spot

The NBA Draft is June 21 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Early entrants have until June 11 to withdraw their name from the draft and return to school.

It remains to be seen if Chatman will be invited to the NBA Combine, set for May 16 to 20 in Chicago.

“The biggest thing I want to take out of this is getting the experience and seeing what it is like working out with NBA teams and to get invited to the Combine,” said Chatman, whose father, Canaan Chatman, is an assistant at Detroit Mercy. “I want to get all the information I can on what NBA teams feel about me, and this will allow me to evaluate my future better.”

Local mid-major stars have had mixed success going pro early in recent years. Central Michigan's Marcus Keene, who led the nation in scoring in 2016-17 at 30 points a game, left after his junior season, went undrafted and signed to play professionally in Italy. A year earlier, Oakland junior Kay Felder left after finishing fourth in the nation in scoring and first in assists. He was drafted in the second round by the Cavaliers, signed a three-year, $2.4-million contract, and has since gone on to the Hawks, Bulls and, now, the Pistons.

Last spring, Western Michigan's Thomas Wilder declared but eventually returned for his senior season.