Saturday, December 17, 2011

More on Birch

Just some thoughts on Khem Birch's possibly impending transfer.  The first thing I want to say is that even though I said that it wasn't coming from me personally, people still claimed it was coming from me that Birch was going to be a one and done.  Now that both involved are gone, I guess I can say now that it was former Pitt assistant Pat Skerry, who recruited Birch, who told me that he thought Birch would be a one and done.  And also as I reported, he said he didn't think Birch would be ready for the NBA but that rarely matters with kids like him.

Which brings me to the second point and that's that from people I talked to at the time of his recruitment, Birch had a few let's just say unscrupulous people in his life.  Because this was from people who were very "close to the situation" and I didn't deal directly with the people in question, I won't say specifically who it was.  But let's just say that when Pitt was trying to close the deal with Birch, both a family member and somebody in AAU, were trying to get him to go somewhere other than Pitt because they were offering something that Pitt wouldn't- and it wasn't playing time.  But Skerry, Jamie Dixon, and ND Prep head coach Ryan Hurd won the battle for him to do the right thing.

Clearly, however, those bad elements got into Birch's head again which is too bad.  He is actually a good kid and he's had adults with bad intentions who have been using him for their own gain.  This is hardly the first time this has happened when it comes to this level of recruit and it won't be the last.  Unfortunately, this is often the baggage that comes with the elite high school prospects.  I've had many people who know Dixon say he usually doesn't get involved with the top kids because he doesn't want to be involved with the shadiness it takes to land most of those players.  But in no way should Dixon stop recruiting such a player if he feels they can help him and he can do it on his terms  There may be others who, like Birch, don't pan out.  But if Dixon does not strive to get the best talent, then he's not helping the program.

Late recruiting note:  A few days ago I was told that 6'8" Jakarr Sampson, who Pitt wants as a 3/4 would probably not end up at Pitt.  You have to think with Birch leaving, the Panthers would have a better chance, but we'll have to see.

One player you can forget about now is Anthony Bennett.  He has the same "advisors" as Birch, I'm told.  In fact, I was told there is "ZERO percent chance".

Lastly, there is Savon Goodman, who would probably be the best option for Pitt, at least in the basketball sense.  He is 6'6" but is tough as nails and could play the four easily for Pitt.  The problem is, he wants to play the three in college so that he can go to the NBA.  He's still better than any three that Pitt currently as, however, and I could see them going after him hard for that reason.

14 comments:

  1. Great information Chris - Thank You!

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  2. It's a shame that a 19 year old would be getting this sort of "advice" from others. I hope Jamie Dixon never stoops to offering whatever it is that some schools were willing to put out there. I'll take a program that's run with integrity rather than the shadiness that pollutes college athletics in this day and age anytime, even if it means a disappointing exit from the NCAA tournament. Pitt's program is built on hard work, players paying their dues, working hard to improve, etc. If that wasn't the right environment for Birch it's just as well that he moved on now. I wonder if academics has something to do with this as well.

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  3. Great site Chris. Great info.

    Wouldn't be that jag off J.O. Stright again, would it? Dude's a Pitt guy, and has sent about 2 players to Pitt the last 20 years.

    Don't know what his beef is, don't expect him to be obligated to funnel players her, but, he goes to the games, with that smug smile, and has never really helped us.

    Oh, I'm Dan, didn't know how to get the url in there.

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  4. like i said in another comment on the site someone had his ear telling him what he wanted to hear not what he needed to hear. if he would have stayed this staff would have helped his game get to the point where he would have had a good shot at making an nba roster. he has the potential but like alot of kids doesn't think he has to work for it and most likely feels his skill set is much better than it is. alot of this stems from the people that are using him for their own benefit. its a shame but such is life in college sports. at least pitt is a team that can withstand a loss like this thanks to the way its built.

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  5. I don't understand how leaving helps, regardless of who is in his ear. If he believes he's 1 and done, bailing out on a team doesn't improve his stock, nor will playing one-half a semester somewhere next year, even if it's Kentucky or UNC or wherever. Just a mind-boggling decision. I can see homesickness issues maybe, but I just don't see how this helps his hoops futurenin any way.

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  6. what about amile jefferson? are they still recruiting him?

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  7. From what I saw of him in the actual games, Pitt isn't going to miss him much. I don't care if you can jump over the hoop, kid looked like he'd barely played basketball in his life. To me he looked like Dante Taylor the sequel. Could be good eventually, but needed a TON of work. Maybe sitting out is best for him, that way NBA scouts won't get to see that in actuality, he really can't play.

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  8. In all honesty, I think he would have gotten good, and it would happen quickly. But I don't think it really would have happened until next season. He was never going to be somebody who was going to be a 15 ppg and 10 rpg because he wouldn't have been here long enough to do it. As soon as he started to come around he was history.

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  9. Jefferson was always a long shot, by the way.

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  10. J.O. Stright....haven't heard that name in years. Is he still around?

    If i remember correctly, that was more of an issue with the local recruits. Pitt doesn't seem to be too heavily involved with anyone locally of late to my knowledge.

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  11. It wasn't Stright. I don't even think he's involved with AAU anymore.

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  12. Now that we seem to know that Khem Birch left Pitt because he found the practices too rough for him can you imagine what every opposing coach is going to suggest his players to do when they match up against Birch in the future? The opposing coaches will say : "This kid Birch is soft, play him rough, talk smack to him all night long, etc." ... and that will work.

    Why will it work? Because this kid was BROUGHT TO TEARS SEVERAL TIMES during Pitt practices with his TEAMMATES.

    By the way ... just imagine how the NBA will EAT HIM ALIVE if it ever comes to that ...

    What a shame, playing for Jamie Dixon was exactly what Birch needed to grow and toughen up ... what a shame ... what a shame ...

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  13. I believe the guy he is referring to is Ryan Sweeney. He seems to call the shots for a good number of kids from the Northeast and Canada.

    The truth is that in the end this may be the best move for him. If he is truly more of a finesse type that would not have developed (see Dante Taylor) under Jamie's system then he should leave. All staying does is expose your weakness to the NBA which these days only drafts on potential not production. If he goes to a place that plays more of an up-tempo game this weakness can be hidden.

    My issue is that I think he could have developed into one of the best players in the country under Dixon. It may have taken longer to get to the NBA but he would have made up those years on the back-end w/ a longer, more productive career.

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  14. Is Birch thinking about coming back to Pitt?

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/12/21/4-1-zoo-khem-birch-interested-in-returning-to-pitt/#.TvKqhQa48pU.twitter

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