An explosively athletic player at 6-feet-9-inches tall, Khem Birch is considered one of the nation's top shot blockers in his recruiting class. Birch is physically gifted, extremely coachable and has a feel for the game. He has been described as a phenomenal athlete who is quick off his feet and plays high above the rim. He runs the floor well, has great mobility and is quick laterally. On defense, he is a long and extremely athletic frontline player who can change the game with his shot-blocking ability. He also has the potential to guard multiple positions. On offense, he uses his length to grab offensive rebounds, consistently scoring with tipins above the rim or on the break. He scores in and around the lane when he receives the ball from cutting and slashing in between defenders. He also has good touch around the basket, has several post moves and can hit a short jumper from the corner. A soft spoken, mature Canadian, Birch signed a National Letter of Intent with Pitt on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010.
A 2011 graduate of Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass. where he played his senior season for head coach Ryan Hurd...McDonald's All-American...Named to the USA Today All-America Second Team...Averaged 18 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots per game as a senior at Notre Dame Prep...Guided the Crusaders to the title game of the National Prep Championships before a 90-74 loss to champion St. Thomas More Prep (Conn.)...Named a McDonalds All-American and participated in the annual All-America Game held at Chicago's United Center on March 30, 2011...Played for the West squad and led team in scoring (15 points), rebounding (10, including nine offensive) and blocked shots (six)...One of three Canadians who played in the McDonald's All-American Game (Myck Kabongo-Texas and Kyle Wiltjer-Kentucky) and the first-ever player from Montreal, Quebec...Became the sixth Pitt signee in school history to earn McDonald's All-America Team honors joining Charles Smith (1984), Jerome Lane (1985), Bobby Martin (1987), Brian Shorter (1987) and Dante Taylor (2009)...Scored 15 points with seven rebounds (five offensive) and five blocks in helping the East Team to a 113-109 win in the Jordan Brand All-Star Game, April 16, 2011 in Charlotte, N.C....Played the 2009-10 season at Winchendon Prep in Winchendon, Mass for head coach Mike Byrnes...Averaged 5.0 blocks per game as a sophomore at Winchendon Prep...Helped guide Winchendon to a No. 3 state ranking, 11-5 record and 7-2 league slate...Consensus top-10 recruit...Ranked the nation's No. 11 recruit and No. 1 power forward by ESPNU...Ranked the nation's No. 14 recruit by Scout.com...Rated the nation's No. 17 recruit by MaxPreps...Rated the nation's No. 25 recruit by 247Sports/Sports Illustrated...Led his team to the tournament title at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio...Played AAU basketball on the Expressions Elite team for head coach Todd Quarles...Also has played for the Brookwood Elite.
Played on the Canadian Junior National Team for head coach Greg Francis...Guided Canada to a bronze medal at the Under-18 Championships in San Antonio, Texas during the summer of 2010...Led the squad in both rebounding and blocks...With a 3-2 record, Canada qualified for the 2011 FIBA Under-19 World Championships in Latvia...Averaged 5.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.2 blocks per game in the five-game FIBA event...Ranked fifth among all tournament players in rebounding (7.8) and second in blocked shots (4.2)...Scored four points, eight rebounds and blocked seven shots in the bronze medal 86-83 win over Argentina...Finished with seven points and seven rebounds in a semifinal loss to eventual team champion United States...Registered a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds in a pool play win over eventual second place finisher Brazil...Has an opportunity to compete for a roster spot on Canada's 2012 Olympic team and World Championship Team.
Born Khem Birch on September 28, 1992...Son of Wendy Sparks...Became the highest ranked recruit to choose Pitt since Brian Shorter in 1987...First played basketball because of his height, but now plays because "he loves the game"...Made an unofficial visit to Pitt on September 11, 2010...Both of his parents played basketball...Gave the visit to Pitt a "10" on a scale of 1 to 10, saying the fans were "great" because they knew every single player on the team during a pre-game autograph session...Committed to Pitt in September, 2010 and signed on November 17, 2010...Chose Pitt because of his relationship with Jamie Dixon and the fact that the program "can help him get to the next level"...Also said he "felt comfortable with the coaches and players at Pitt"...Resided in both Ottawa and Montreal before transferring to the Winchendon School for the 2009-10 season...One of his career goals is to put "Canada basketball on the map"...First Canadian to play at Pitt since Vancouver native Levon Kendall (2003-07)...As a kid growing up in Pierrefonds, Quebec, preferred football over basketball, but once he grew tall, he decided that he would play basketball...Selected Pitt over North Carolina, Kentucky, Syracuse, Connecticut, Ohio State, St. John's, West Virginia, Florida, Texas, Arizona and Providence.