New Dayton recruit comes from basketball family

Rodney Chatman’s dad played at Southern California

The newest Dayton Flyers recruit was a late bloomer. Rodney Chatman didn’t play organized basketball until he was 12. Even though he’s entering his junior year in college, he’s only 19.

“I knew once he once hit 18 or 19, his game would take off,” said Chatman’s dad, Rodney. “I would tell all the college coaches that.”

Chatman, a 6-foot-1 guard from Lithonia, Ga., committed to Chattanooga in December 2015, played two seasons with the Mocs and announced May 2 he would transfer. While visiting Dayton on Monday, he announced his commitment to the Flyers.

» SPORTS TODAY: Dayton’s roster heavy on guards

The timing of Chatman’s decision surprised his dad, mom Glenda and younger brother Bryce, a third-grader. His announcement came during a photo shoot at UD. Chatman had put on a Dayton basketball jersey and was answering questions on video. This is a relatively new thing Dayton does with potential recruits.

“They asked, ‘If you wanted to tell the Dayton Flyers one thing, what would it be?’” Chatman Jr. said. “He said, ‘I’m committing to be a Dayton Flyer.’”

With that, Chatman became the fifth member of Dayton's 2018 recruiting class. Like Michigan transfer Ibi Watson, he will have to sit out the 2018-19 season and has two seasons of eligibility remaining, starting with the 2019-20 season. Here are five things to know about Chatman:

1. Floor leader: Chatman averaged 13.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists last season as a sophomore at Chattanooga. He shot 33.9 percent from 3-point range (43 of 127) and 78.2 percent from the free-throw line (93 of 119). He ranked sixth in the Southern Conference in minutes per game (32.3).

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“He sees the floor very well,” said Wallace Corker, who coached Chatman for three seasons at Lithonia High School. “He manages the game. He’s able to create his shot and get to the basket when he needs to. I saw all of that come into play during his junior year. He passed the ball very well. He’s very unselfish. He became a great leader.”

2. One visit: Chatman is the second transfer this spring to commit to Dayton without visiting any other schools. Watson did the same thing. Chatman's dad said Virginia Tech was very interested in his son and wanted him to visit. Chatman plans to major in sports management at UD.

3. Basketball family: Chatman's dad goes by Rodney Chatman Jr., and he said his son is Rodney Chatman III. Chatman Jr., who's originally from New Smyrna Beach, Fla., passed up a football scholarship to Notre Dame to play college basketball at Southern California. He averaged 12.0 points per game as a senior in 1992-93.

Corker called the younger Chatman a gym rat who loves the game. That’s why he switched from baseball to basketball when he was 12.

“He’s passionate about everything he does as it relates to basketball and academics,” Corker said. “He has a great support system from his family. Just overall a really good kid. He had to build his ability to talk and communicate with players. That was one of the things we worked on. Now he has accomplished that goal.”

4. Tough season: Chatman played one season with Matt McCall. The Mocs finished 19-12. Then McCall left for Massachusetts. That decision last spring paved the way for Dayton to sign Jalen Crutcher, who was released from his letter of intent, and it played a part in Chatman leaving Chattanooga this year.

“Matt McCall was his guy,” Chatman Jr. said.

The Mocs finished 10-23 in the first season for coach Lamont Paris, and four players have announced they are transferring since the end of the season. Dayton experienced a similar situation in March, losing five players after Anthony Grant's first season.

5. Recruiting connection:  Chatman's AAU coach, Willie Anderson, was recruited by Grant when Grant was an assistant coach at Stetson in the mid-1990s. Anderson ended up going to LSU.

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Anderson, who talked to Dayton assistant James Kane during the recruiting process, said he didn’t have to sell Chatman on Dayton because Chatman and the family know college basketball and knew of Dayton’s tradition.

Anderson coached Chatman for two years with the Q6 All-Stars Elite.

“We got a steal in our organization because we were based in Orlando, and he lives in Georgia and traveled down to practice and play with us on a consistent basis,” Anderson said. “We had the pleasure of working with the young man. He was an exceptional student and an even better player on the court. It was just about us putting him in a position to be successful.”

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