Nov. 22, 2010
Forward, 6-9, 200, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec, Canada/Notre Dame Prep, Mass.
An explosively athletic player at 6-feet-9, Khem Birch is considered as a top shot blocker. Birch is physically gifted, has a feel for the game, extremely coachable and has a great work ethic. 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 on the defensive end 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 tip-ins 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.
HIGH SCHOOL: Currently attending Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass. for Head Coach Ryan Hurd…Opened the 2010-11 season at the National Prep Showcase in New Haven, Conn. with a 20-point, 10-rebound performance vs. Fishburne Military Academy (Va.) and an 11-point, six-rebound game vs. Westwind Prep (Ariz.)…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…Competed at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio…Led his team to the tournament title at the LeBron James Skills Academy…Plays AAU basketball on the Expressions Elite team for Head Coach Todd Quarles…Also has played for the Brookwood Elite.
CANADA BASKETBALL: 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 rebounding and blocked shots…With a 3-2 record, Canada qualified for next year’s 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.
PERSONAL: Born Khem Birch on September 28, 1992…Son of Wendy Sparks…Becomes the highest ranked recruit to choose Pitt since Brian Shorter in 1987…Made an unofficial visit to Pitt on September 11, 2010 to watch the Pitt football team play New Hampshire…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…Chose Pitt because of his relationships with Jamie Dixon and Pat Skerry and the fact that they “can help him get to the next level”…Also said he “felt comfortable with the coaches and players at Pitt”…Lived in both Ottawa and Montreal before transferring to the Winchendon School for the 2009-10 season…One of his goals is to put “Canada basketball on the map”…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.