Chalmers, an early entry candidate after spending three seasons at the University of Kansas, was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2008 NCAA Tournament Final Four. He is a three-time Big 12 All-Defensive Team selection, and earned Second Team All-Big 12 honors in his junior season. As a sophomore, he was named Co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and earned Third Team All-Conference honors.
During his three seasons as a Jayhawk, he averaged 12.2 points, 3.8 assists and 2.57 steals, while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from three-point range. He led the Big 12 in steals in all three of his seasons and currently ranks as the second all-time leader in Kansas history with 283 steals. He holds the single-season mark for steals in a season with 97, set during both his sophomore and junior seasons and also ranks sixth all-time in three-point field goals made (180), 12th in assists (420) and 24th in scoring (1,341).
Chalmers was born Anchorage, Alaska and attended Bartlett High School. His cousin, Lionel Chalmers, played in the NBA with the L.A. Clippers. His other cousin, Chris Smith, played with the Minnesota Timberwolves.