|Khem Birch at the Lebron James Skills Academy.|
Photo Courtesy of http://www.crownmagonline.com/
CROWN has the scoop on Khem Birch...one of the most sought after players in the class of 2012 who has verbally committed to the University of Pittsburgh. The Panthers who play in the vaunted Big East Conference will be adding a player that not only hustles on every single play but has a condor-like wingspan of 86 inches and can gobble up balls that seem to be miles away from the basket. He first impressed many scouts this past summer while playing for the Canadian Junior Men's National Team(JMNT) as they collected a well-deserved bronze medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Men tourney in San Antonio, Texas. Brazil won silver and the U.S. took the gold as all three teams plus 4th place Argentina qualified for the 2011 FIBA U18 World Championship in Latvia. Then Birch, a Montreal native was extremely dominant at the Nike Global Challenge in Hillsboro, Oregon averaging 22.6ppg and 13rpg on an incredible 70% fg percentage. The guy simply couldn't miss inside. His best game was a monstrous 25 point 20 rebound showing against a U.S.A. East team that featured Rakeem Christmas(committed to Syracuse) and James McAdoo(UNC bound)! Those two are no slouches and Birch handled himself astoundingly against competition that tough! For his Herculean efforts the ridiculously athletic and wiry Birch was named the International MVP of the tournament as Canada took the Bronze Medal finishing up with a 2-1 record. After these impressive showings his ranking sky-rocketed to the top 5 in his graduating class. While many high schoolers take their time before choosing a college it looks from the outside that Birch knew where he wanted to go and tweeted that he was going to PITT for a visit on September 11th. It is now the September 30th and Birch has verbally committed to the Panthers with a couple years of high school to go still.
Coach Jamie Dixon is going in to his eighth year at the school and has compiled an impressive resume while amassing a 188-54 win-loss record and three sweet-16 appearances. Between 2001-2004 Dixon's squad won 3 straight Big East regular season titles and captured their first Big East tournament championship in 2003. This guy can flat out coach and he gets results out of his players while giving them an opportunity to get the most exposure while at the same time usually advancing pretty far in the NCAA tournament. Birch will leave PITT a very very good basketball player and more importantly a better person after playing for Dixon, I'm sure of that.
Cudos to the PITT Panthers and the Big East for snatching up this rising star as Birch enters the realm of the BIG EAST Conference in 2012...
See the CROWN article on his verbal commitment HERE!