NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 10: Khem Birch #24 of the Pittsburgh Panthers rebounds over Jean-Paul Olukemi #0 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Madison Square Garden on December 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Khem Birch Leaving Pitt Basketball Program

Reports indicate freshman forward Khem Birch could be on his way out of Oakland.

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Khem Birch Transfers From Pitt: His Notre Dame Prep Coach Reportedly Bashes Move

With the news that Khem Birch is leaving the Pitt basketball program, lots of analysts are beginning to speak out. But that’s nothing compared to the bombshells apparently dropped by Notre Dame Prep Coach Ryan Hurd Friday night. As reported by Post-Gazette writer Ray Fittipaldo via Twitter, Hurd had some interesting things to say about Birch’s departure from the Panthers:

ND Prep coach Ryan Hurd on Birch: “The problem is he is being led down a road by so-called advisors. It’s going to end poorly for Khem.”

That wasn’t it, though. He added:

More from Ryan Hurd: “Pitt was the perfect place for him.” Also said Birch had a hard time adjusting to physicaltiy of major college bball.

Those quotes would be pretty interesting if any other coach made them, but the fact that his own former coach apparently made them is incredible.

For more on Birch’s departure from Pitt, continue to follow SB Nation Pittsburgh and check out SB Nation’s Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.


Jamie Dixon Comments On Khem Birch's Departure

Pitt coach Jamie Dixon confirmed the departure of highly-touted freshman forward Khem Birch on Friday night according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ray Fittipaldo.

"Khem has decided to leave the team for personal reasons," Dixon said in a statement. "We thank Khem for his contribution to our program over the last semester and wish him great success in the future."

The 6-foot-9 former five-star recruit and McDonald's All-American out of Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburgh, Mass. signed with the Panthers last September, turning down scholarship offers from eight schools including Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Texas and West Virginia. ranked him No. 4 at the power forward position and No. 9 overall for the recruiting class of 2011. He had started the last six games for Dixon's squad before his transfer and had played in all 10 of Pitt's games this season, averaging 4.4 points and 5.0 rebounds.

His final game with the Panthers came last Saturday when he scored five points and grabbed a single rebound in 15 minutes during Pitt's 74-68 win against Oklahoma State.

Birch will have to sit out a calender year of games but would be eligible to play at whatever school he transfers to starting next December if Dixon releases Birch from his scholarship.

For all the latest on Khem Birch's departure from Pitt, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh.


Khem Birch Says Defection From Pitt Official

Fears that Pitt's highly touted freshman forward, Khem Birch, is leaving the program have been confirmed in a report from CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman and Jeff Borzello.

Birch told CBS the following.

"I'm leaving," Birch told on Friday night. "I'm headed to Toronto now. I enjoyed my time at Pittsburgh, I love Coach (Jamie) Dixon, had no problems with the staff and the players. It just wasn't the right fit for me." 

He also said that he does not have a list of possible landing spots yet.

Birch, a former McDonald's All-American and five-star recruit averaged 4.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 10 games with the Panthers this season. Despite his hype, he averaged just 15.0 minutes per game, however, and did not log more than 20 minutes in a game after a Nov. 27 win against Robert Morris in which he scored eight points on 1-2 shooting and grabbed a career high 11 rebounds in 29 minutes.

Stay tuned for the latest on Birch's departure here at SB Nation Pittsburgh.


Khem Birch Transfer: An On-Again, Off-Again Tale

After Twitter exploded earlier in the evening, several reports are now floating around saying that Khem Birch could indeed be staying put. In a strange twist of events, Pitt could be keeping its star freshman.

It’s hard to believe this wasn’t a possibility, though. As Adam mentioned in the original post, former Pitt players including Brad Wanamaker and Jermaine Dixon seemed to allude to Birch’s potential departure on Twitter through some not-so-cryptic tweets. The other thing that leads you to believe there was more to this than meets the eye is that Pitt refused to comment on the situation throughout the evening. If there really was nothing to it, it’s hard to imagine the university drawing out speculation by not issuing a statement.

Again, nothing’s been confirmed, but there are some mentions out there now that Birch could indeed be staying.

For more on the situation and Pitt basketball, check out Cardiac Hill.


Khem Birch Transfer: Kentucky May Not Be A Destination For Birch

The Khem Birch rumors are, for now, still just rumors. Pitt is not offering a comment on the situation at this time and there are no major outlets reporting it as a done deal at the moment.

Ray Fittipaldo of the Post-Gazette also offered this about the Birch to Kentucky story via Twitter tonight:

About those Birch to Kentucky rumors, don’t count on it. A source told me Calipari had to be told who Khem Birch was tonight. FWIW.

Well, I can certainly buy the fact that this isn’t happening. It could be simply a freshman having second thoughts and doubts about thinking about leaving. But the fact that John Calipari apparently doesn’t know who Khem Birch is? Now that I’d be surprised about. Calipari is one of the best recruiters in the country, and I find it difficult to believe that he doesn’t at least know the name of all of the McDonald’s All-Americans.

For more on this development, be sure to check back here at SB Nation Pittsburgh, and also check out Cardiac Hill.


Khem Birch's Future At Pitt In Doubt, According To Reports

Reports indicate freshman forward Khem Birch could be on his way out of Oakland.

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