Blog Entry

Birch tells 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 he has decided to transfer. 

"I'm leaving," Birch told 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 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. ranked him No. 15 in ’11 after originally being a top five player in the class of 2012.

Photo: US Presswire 


Since: Sep 11, 2009
Posted on: December 16, 2011 8:00 pm

Birch tells he's leaving Pittsburgh

As the father of four sons, all of whom played high school sports and two of whom played in college, this is a major mistake by Birch.

Jamie Dixon would have made him a better player and a better individual.

His actions sound soemwhat immature, which is exactly why he needs a coach with Dixon's skills. 

For Birch's sake, I hope he doesn't become a "basketball vagabond." 

Since: Dec 16, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 7:49 pm

Birch tells he's leaving Pittsburgh

Next stop, Lexington, Ky.

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: December 16, 2011 7:46 pm

Birch tells he's leaving Pittsburgh

Boy, this has been a banner week for Pitt. I wish him well, liked what I saw, and cannot understand at all the need to leave. Jamie coaches up big men as well as anyone in CBB, and he would have been a beast heading into our ACC entry. Hope he hasn't made a big mistake...but I am guessing he has.

Since: Oct 8, 2006
Posted on: December 16, 2011 7:36 pm

Birch tells he's leaving Pittsburgh

Unfortunately for Khem, I think Pitt was exactly what he needed.  When he came into the summer league and was matched up with DeJuan Blair, every aspect of his game that he needs to work on was exposed.  Spending time in the weight room and learning how to play in the post was exactly what he needed.  He seems like a very talented, very raw player who is destined to be Chris Bosh unless he learns how to truly play physical basketball.

Since: Jan 30, 2007
Posted on: December 16, 2011 7:29 pm

Birch tells he's leaving Pittsburgh

You gotta be kidding me.  Just like that??? Why in the heck would he leave a good team in a great conference where he would be a star in a year or two?  If it wasn't about the minutes, then what's the story?  Ridiculous.  I didn't care about Graham leaving, but this kinda sucks.  I'll be pissed if he goes to another Big East school...

Since: Aug 3, 2007
Posted on: December 16, 2011 7:26 pm

Birch tells he's leaving Pittsburgh

Its too bad for Khem.  He would've made a great frontline with Adams next year.  The relaity is, a coach like Dixon is exactly what this kid needed and he was too immature to see it.  I hope he finds what hes looking for somewhere else. 

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