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Blog Entry

Birch tells CBSSports.com he's leaving Pittsburgh

Posted on: December 16, 2011 7:01 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 8:15 pm
 

By Jeff Goodman and Jeff Borzello

Khem Birch is leaving Pittsburgh after just 10 games. 

The 6-foot-9 Canadian, the highest-ranked player to commit to the Panthers in the history of the program, told CBSSports.com he has decided to transfer. 

"I'm leaving," Birch told CBSSports.com on Friday night. "I'm headed to Toronto now. I enjoyed my time at Pittsburgh, I love Coach (Jamie) Dixon, had no problems with the staff and the players. It just wasn't the right fit for me."  

Birch informed CBSSports.com that he does not have a new list and has not decided on his next destination. 

Birch, who attended Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) last season, was averaging 4.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks through 10 games. It looked like Birch was on the verge of breaking out in late November, when he totaled 23 points, 21 rebounds and nine blocks in two wins over Pennsylvania and Robert Morris. He has started six games.

However, his minutes decreased the last couple of games. Birch averaged just 13.5 minutes over the last four games after playing 28.5 the previous two.

If there is a team that could sustain this type of loss, though, it's Pittsburgh. Jamie Dixon has Taylor and sophomore Talib Zanna in the post, and Robinson, a senior, at the power forward position. Without Birch, freshman Malcolm Gilbert will likely get increased minutes. Next year, touted New Zealand prospect Steven Adams will be welcomed into the fold. 

Birch decided to reclassify to the class of 2011 last November. Scout.com ranked him No. 15 in ’11 after originally being a top five player in the class of 2012.

Photo: US Presswire 

Comments

Since: Jun 26, 2009
Posted on: December 16, 2011 10:29 pm
 

Birch tells CBSSports.com he's leaving Pittsburgh

Pitt has Malcom Gilbert that can fill in and Pitt will be fine. As for Birch, he was a player and will be a good player and an NBA player. He will not be a star, but he will see minutes in NBA.  He was not a star in all aspects of his game. He was a shot blocker, and they take time to learn to get in good position defensivly and offensivly.  Sorry to see him go, makes no sense, but I am sure he is hearing some body in his ear giving him bad info.



Since: Jun 23, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 10:23 pm
 

Birch tells CBSSports.com he's leaving Pittsburgh

Hey BIRCH GOPHER NATION!! C U NEXT FALL!




Since: Apr 17, 2009
Posted on: December 16, 2011 10:19 pm
 

Birch tells CBSSports.com he's leaving Pittsburgh

I liked the kid...he seemed like a great rebounder. But, I don't think he was a Dejuan Blair. Sounds like he came to Pitt looking to be the man...as he was in High School. Not going to happen at Pitt. Adios Khem.



Since: Jan 30, 2007
Posted on: December 16, 2011 9:58 pm
 

Birch tells CBSSports.com he's leaving Pittsburgh

Hey StevePhoenix, you do realize that Zona's hoops coach went to Pitt, right?  Just checkin'



Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: December 16, 2011 9:51 pm
 

Birch tells CBSSports.com he's leaving Pittsburgh

Todd Graham good not wait to leave little unknown Pitt & now there best ranked player in little Pitt's history can't wait to get out of there either. Pitt fans: All I want for Christmas is for someone to love us & stay with us.



Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: December 16, 2011 9:32 pm
 

Birch tells CBSSports.com he's leaving Pittsburgh

@SissyBoyFloy Not only do you mistake your insittution, you also try to make light up a situation wherein children were treated in such a terrible way that they (now young-adults) will forever be traumatized.  Good job.  Hope Santa brings you lots of great presents in a week or so.  

But on the issue at hand, from what I've been reading and gathering from those associated with the program (I've talked to a few players on the team) this wasn't a basketball or playing-minutes (to a point) issue.  It seems like the kid is homesick, has been having issues with his girlfriend, and is disappointed that he hasn't been able to be this "mega-star" that is typically associated with being a McDAA and a top 5-10 player.  

I really do hope the kid the best.  He has talent that any program in the country would sell a left-nut (hypothetically and theoretically...I hope) to have.  If he doesn't think Jamie Dixon can develop that talent to get to the next level (and God forbid he looks at the list of Most Improve Player awards given under Dixon's watch), then I hope he markets his talents towards the NBA elsewhere.  From everything I've read (and heard from teammates) he is a strong-willed, yet relatively isolated and lonesome talent.  I give the kid props for trying to figure out his personal business before it brings him down in his (eventual) professional life.  



Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: December 16, 2011 9:22 pm
 

Birch tells CBSSports.com he's leaving Pittsburgh

Wants to play in a better conference than the ACC.


SissyBoyFloy
Since: Oct 29, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 8:45 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Nov 26, 2006
Posted on: December 16, 2011 8:22 pm
 

Birch tells CBSSports.com he's leaving Pittsburgh

Birch is a child in a big man's body, but if he cannot adapt to learning he will have trouble throughout his life.

Godspeed Birch!



Since: Feb 1, 2009
Posted on: December 16, 2011 8:09 pm
 

Birch tells CBSSports.com he's leaving Pittsburgh

The big difference in the Pitt program and all of the others is that when this talent comes in they do not start immediately. Thats why Pitt very rarely gets the top ten recruits. They come and play against second year freshman and 5th year seniors. They are not as good initially as the talent that Jamie has on the court. They may have a bigger potential, but as someone else previously stated about playing this summer against Dejuan Blair, exposed the weaknesses of his young game.

I would love to win the whole thing, but I am completely content with having a great basketball team every year and running a clean program. We have kids that actually graduate from college. Jamie Dixon runs a program you can hold your head high about.

I was really looking forward to Birch playing here and have been since he first signed. He is very young and away from home. I wish him the best. There weren't very many freshman that came in and started, let alone played any significant minutes. He was, and is a diamond in the rough. Jamie would have made him shine though. Playing in the Big East would have toughened him up too.

Best of luck Khem. Wish you were staying.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com