It's been a tough couple of weeks for fans of the Pitt Panthers. But today they can feel a little better about one fact: their hyper-competitive basketball program just landed the #1 power forward in the Class of 2012.
6'8", 180-pound Khem Birch, ranked fourth overall and first at his position in the country, just committed to Jamie Dixon, joining New Zealand C Steven Adams as the second commitment for 2012. Birch, from Fitchburg, Massachusetts, is the second five-star recruit in Pitt history; current sophomore Dante Taylor was the first.
Birch picked Pitt over offers from Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Ohio State, Providence, Texas, St. John's, and West Virginia. He was recruited by Pitt assistant Pat Skerry.
Birch is an off the charts athlete that can charge the game on the defensive end of the floor with his ability to block shots and rebound. His is a big time clear path finisher and when his offense catches up to his defense is game goes to next level. Birch has great upside and has drawn comparisons to former Cincinnati and NBA star Kenyon Martin.
Birch definitely has some growing to do, as that lanky frame needs to fill out. And this offensive game needs some polishing. But the kid's certainly got time for that to happen, and it looks like Pitt (and a lot of other high-end programs) are more than content to wait.