If you want a good reason why I don’t like following the Twitter accounts of teenage boys (I mean, aside from the clear discomfort and creepiness of doing so when phrased that way), it is that they are more prone to emotional reactions that then create ripples of overreactions.
Let me put it this way. We keep seeing repeated examples of grown-ups being unable to handle the pitfalls of modern media. So who should realistically expect 17-19 year-olds to react to news with the cold logic of Spock and handle Twitter with the wisdom of Solomon?
With Pat Skerry leaving his post as assistant coach at Pitt for the head coaching job at Towson, Khem Birch was bothered. Birch is very close to Skerry. He was prepared to go to Providence because Skerry was there. He opted for Pitt when Skerry changed jobs. He changed classifications to the class of 2011 and signed his NLI to Pitt.
Tweeted his response to such news.
Yesterday afternoon, this message was posted on Birch’s Twitter account, MTLsGift: “A lot of thinking to do. Very upset. When the going gets tough the tough get going. Will see whats in store.”
That was followed up by a tweet about speaking on the phone with Assistant Coach Brandin Knight, and feeling a bit better. But still no statement of 100% committed still to Pitt. Knight is supposed to meet with the kid on Thursday.
That cued up the angst and worry over whether he was going to bail at the last minute. I really didn’t see it as anything big yet. He was having an emotional reaction to the situation. Nothing was going to happen immediately.
His choices aren’t that great. He has signed the NLI. The Big East has some of the toughest conference restrictions on recruits after they commit to a Big East program and sign the NLI. No Big East team can touch him. Period. Doesn’t matter if he never sets foot on campus. UConn, Louisville, West Virginia, etc. The other fifteen Big East programs can’t have him. Other top programs would have to struggle to make space for him at this point, and Pat Skerry still wouldn’t be there.
If Pitt refused to let him out of the NLI, he would have to sit a year before playing. Not really an option for a one-and-done player.
Then came the good news. His high school coach reaffirmed Birch’s commitment to Pitt.
“Khem is going to Pittsburgh,” Notre Dame Prep coach Ryan Hurd said Tuesday. “There is no need for alarm. Khem is an 18-year-old kid. And disappointment is what it is.
“He was close to coach Skerry. But the reality is he signed with Pitt because of coach [Jamie] Dixon, and coach Dixon is still there.”
“These kids have to realize that these coaches have aspirations just like they do,” Hurd said. “He should be happy that coach Skerry’s dreams are coming true. And he is. It’s just hard for an 18-year-old kid when he is emotionally tied to a coach.”
Spoken like a grown-up. Not to mention a coach with aspirations of his own that knows he may have to emotionally crush some of his own charges at some point.
Not to mention that Birch eventually Tweeted an indication that he isn’t going to try and decommit from Pitt. And another tweet with Durand Johnson (who shows the remarkable intelligence to lockdown his twitter account) on Tuesday.
Of course, Chris Peak of PantherLair — who actually talked to Birch on Monday night — and got a very non-committal response, notes that the situation isn’t actually resolved (Peak still thinks Birch will still end up at Pitt). And he’s right. Birch hasn’t made any actual statement yet. That’s his high school coach saying this, and Birch has not made his own definitive statement.
I haven’t worried much about it, though, and I still don’t. Birch has options, but his best one is still Pitt. The thing that works strongest for Pitt is that Birch has signed his NLI and sent his materials to the NCAA Clearinghouse to get him on campus for summer semester.
Amazing how it worked out that he reclassified to the 2011 class rather than 2012. Now if he was still in the 2012 class, then there would have been reason to worry.