And while I wouldn't write Donnal or Chatman off 100%, the fact is that neither is likely to live up to the expectations we had for them coming in. In college basketball, a year is plenty of time to see what someone has. That's not to say that they will necessarily be playing the best they ever will by the end of their freshman year, but they should at least be showing signs of greater productivity.
So, basically you are writing them off.
I am not guaranteeing that they will live up to whatever expectations you might have had, but I think you are way too dismissive, especially with regards to Chatman.
The past few years of college basketball are littered with examples of players both highly touted and not-so-highly touted that struggled their first year(s) only to eventually play their way to all-conference honors and even the NBA draft. Two instant examples that all Michigan fans should remember (and which have been mentioned often on this board) are Darius Morris and Adreian Payne. Both were abysmal their freshman year. It isn't like Morris's path to the court was blocked by superior players. It was blocked by his own poor play. And while Payne may have had serviceable players in front of him, he looked like a fish out of water on the basketball court. He looked like a stiff--nothing at all like the player he was as a senior.
I only bring up these 2 because I am sure all Michigan fans are familiar with them. Off the top of my head, Patric Young and Marcus Paige are 2 McDonald's all-Americans who greatly disappointed their respective fan bases as freshman, only to become all-conference / all-American types as upper classmen. Examples of less highly touted players include Denzel Valentine (turnover machine as a freshman, but without the assists or good shooting), Matt Costello (Mr. Basketball), Rakeem Christmas, Frank Kaminsky.
I'm not saying that Chatman and Donnal will be great. Or even that it's more likely that they will be meet expectations than not. But you are way too dismissive of their futures, particularly Chatman's. He played JV ball as a junior and then played senior ball against sub-standard competition. An adjustment period is not unexpected. Donnal--he is admittedly much less likely to be an impact Big10 player, since he had a year to prep for this season. But he was less highly touted and is an undersized 5, so expectations probably should have been a bit lower for him in the first place.
Not sure what you mean by saying I am "way too dismissive" All I've said (and you've said that you don't disagree with me) is that neither Chatman or Donnal is likely to live up to their original expectations.
Yes, as you and others have strained to point out, you can roam around college basketball and find guys who had bad freshman years and still turned into really good players. But it is far more common for a player who is eventually going to be as good as a guy with Chatman's expectations should be to show a lot more in their first year than Chatman did last year. As I said quite clearly, that doesn't necessarily mean they are as good as they're going to get after one year, but you normally see SOME signs of star-caliber talent, even if they're inconsistent and obviously have things to learn. Chatman-none.
Chatman was a high 4 star recruit, top 25-30 in the country. By their second year, a guy rated like that should be a high quality starter, averaging double digits, at or approaching all-conference caliber and NBA-draftability. Is it POSSIBLE that Chatman will still hit that level in 2015-16? Sure. Is it likely, based on what he showed last year relative to what most guys headed for that level show as true freshmen? No. I'd love to be surprised, no doubt. I'd love it if we could potentially rotate three starting-caliber guys (Irvin, Dawkins and Chatman) through the 3 and 4 next year. But based on the hard evidence of what he showed on the court last season, there's no justification to project him as that good, other than wishful thinking. Will he still play and contribute, and probably be better than last year? Sure. Will he be better than backup caliber? Much less likely.