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December 22, 2011

Squeezing in Basketball Notes

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Dixon,Players — Chas @ 11:26 am

Everyone is just a wee bit focused on the football side of things. There are some basketball things to get out there.

The Khem Birch situation just remains incredibly sad to me. This apparently was not thought through particularly well. There are even rumblings that Birch might actually want to come back to Pitt. Just one little problem so far:

 

That could be a hindrance.

The unconfirmed rumor as to why Birch may want to come back to Pitt, is that his “advisors” either did not know or forgot to inform Birch that transferring means sitting for a year. I kind of want to believe the did not know part, because it makes a sort of sense as to being this stupid. At the same time, considering how well known this rule is, to even casual college basketball fans I’m a touch skeptical.

I think Coach Dixon would be willing to consider letting him come back, but Birch has some serious fence-mending with his teammates. Judging by the way they have been talking openly after his departure he would have a lot to prove to them. If Birch could man-up to face them, I would be impressed. Have trouble seeing it happen.

Travon Woodall, may manage to return to the team in time for the Big East opening game. Probably not, but at least he is practicing more and getting healthy quickly.

In addition to coping with lots of new blood, injuries and other issues; the weak non-con has allowed Pitt to work on many things so far. One of them has been a slight tweak to the way they rebound. Much more gang rebounding than simply counting on the front court to corral most of them.

“We’re trying to challenge the guys with the numbers,” Dixon said of the new goals. “It’s something we talked about last year. We ended up second. We’re first again this year. It’s something we’ve done year after year. It’s our strength, and we need to continue to play to it and continue to build off it and not be satisfied.”

Without a dominating center, Dixon is asking his wing players and guards to contribute more rebounds. Nasir Robinson, a 6-5 power forward, leads the team with 6.3 rebounds per game and Taylor is right behind him.

Lamar Patterson, a 6-5 small forward, is averaging 5.4 per game. His backup at small forward, 6-6 J.J. Moore, is averaging 3.4 per game.

“It adds something to what we’ve had in the past,” Dixon said. “We have bigger wings and more active rebounders at those spots. It’s something that can help us at the end of the day.”

Patterson has grabbed five rebounds or more in six of the team’s 12 games. He is one of five players on the roster who have done that this season.

“We all just go after it,” Patterson said. “We want everyone to attack the defensive boards. The only person getting back is the point guard for offense. We want to dominate the rebounding.”

Taylor has a 6.2 rpg average. Lots of players grabbing boards. Seems like a different player each game is gunning for a double-double.

Finally. The must read of the day. Pitt’s opponent tomorrow is Wagner. The coach of that team is Dan Hurley. Coach Dixon has twice pursued Hurley to be an assistant on his staff when Dan Hurley was coaching at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, NJ.

Hurley has a lot of respect for Coach Dixon and considers him “someone I look up to, and talk to, and try to emulate.”

A little more.

On one occasion, Hurley and his wife, Andrea, hopped on a plane for a final face-to-face sit-down with Dixon.

Why would a guy who walked away from the Marist College head coaching job on the day he was to be introduced to the media — because Poughkeepsie was too far from his Freehold home and his New Jersey roots — seriously toy with the notion of heading to Pitt as an assistant?

“Because of Jamie,” was Hurley’s response following yesterday’s practice at Spiro Center. “He’s the only guy I ever really considered working for. I’ve always admired him as a straightforward person and a great coach. And I love the way his teams play.”

“Jamie is a basketball coach who just happens to be working in the Big East at a program that is one of the best in the country,” he said. “He’s great at what he does, but he’s not out there looking for his next move. He would be just as satisfied coaching in high school somewhere.”

Dixon was in the St. Benedict’s gym many times in Hurley’s decade there coaching some of the highest profile high school stars in the East.

“Jamie never wound up taking any of my guys,” Hurley laughed. “But he was always direct and up front and I admired that about him.”

Given the coaching family that Dan Hurley is a part, this is high praise.





That’s really a stretch, Birch’s advisors didn’t know he would have to sit out a year.

Really.

Find that quite impossible to believe. There’s got to be more to this story.

But he if wants to come back, let him come back, as long as he does what you say Chas, man up with his teammates and do a good job of convincing Coach, why he should let him come back.

Back again we’re talking about a kid here, remember Pat Bostick left Pitt and he was allowed to return and the rest was 13-9 as a true freshmen.

Comment by EMel 12.22.11 @ 11:35 am

I read about Birch regretting his decision on KDKA. I think at this point he has to call Jamie Dixon first and then it’s up to Dixon to decide if he wants to take him back. If he’s sincere about it, I think Jamie will give him a second chance.

Comment by Justinian 12.22.11 @ 11:43 am

Let him come back and make his ass sit.

The other kids dont want him back, ill tell you that right now…but they dont call the shots do they?

Comment by Yup 12.22.11 @ 11:44 am

We let Bostick back. Make him do some penance and he’ll be ready for crunch time in the big East

Comment by alcofan 12.22.11 @ 11:45 am

I think Dixon would consider letting him back, but only if he believed that Birch would make more of an effort to fit in with his teammates. In other words, become an actual teammate and not just a guy who happens to wear the same uniform. I would think that Dixon would also approach the team leaders (I’m thinking specifically of the vocal leaders, such as Nas and Tray Woodall) to see if they would be willing to reach out to Birch to help make it work. Birch would probably sit until he earned the trust not only his coaches but the other players.

Comment by Pantherman13 12.22.11 @ 11:53 am

This may sound crazy but … is it possible for a guy to redshirt from January thru Decemebr (2 terms or 1 full year)?

Birch redshirts thru Dec .. Gilbert redshirts next year (both are allowed to practice)

Comment by wbb 12.22.11 @ 11:57 am

.. or Gilbert redshirts fromm this January thru next December

Comment by wbb 12.22.11 @ 11:58 am

I’m glad the Zanna piece is getting a lot of notice. He seems like someone who could relate to Birch’s early struggles but not the way he responded. Zanna was slight and got tossed around and talked on in practice his redshirt year, and the only way it got to him was to motivate him to get stronger. And better.

Comment by Ghost of Hornman 12.22.11 @ 12:15 pm

wbb – Redshirts are for a year.

I am pretty sure redshirts are out for both Birch and Gilbert.

Since they have both played in games, they would have to apply for a medical hardship. And even then, Birch has already played in too many games to qualify (remember Mike Cook). Gilbert is really close to having played too much. The rule says two games or 20% of games whichever is greater. Has to be first half of season.

I’m not too concerned about the redshirts anyway, especially for Birch as there is ZERO chance he stays for 5 years. I also don’t see Gilbert staying for a fifth year. You can’t teach 6’11” with long arms, good coordination, strength, shooting touch, he’s a pro in four years.

Comment by boubacar aw 12.22.11 @ 12:19 pm

This guy is packed with drama and a headcase.

Comment by WLAT and the Big Beat 12.22.11 @ 12:21 pm

A redshirt is two consecutive semesters.

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 12.22.11 @ 12:25 pm

I don’t feel sad for the kid. Where are his parents? I don’t believe in second chances for quiters.

Comment by TX Panther 12.22.11 @ 12:29 pm

A transfer sitting out is for two consecutive semesters. As boubacar said, redshirt cut-offs are clearly outlined.

If it was just a case of “homesickness,” toughness even, I would say absolutely welcome him back. But it feels more about those voices inside his ear telling him things than anything else, and I’d rather not deal with that circus if it’s already out of hand. The kid could be a unique, special player, but not right now. And those surrounding him don’t seem content with that concept.

Comment by JW 12.22.11 @ 12:34 pm

maybe Birch could transfer to Delaware …. (although in BB, he may also have to sit a year there)

Comment by wbb 12.22.11 @ 12:34 pm

Anytime you see the word advisors the red flag should go up or the alarm should go off, remember Pryor from tOSU he had advisors !

Comment by WLAT and the Big Beat 12.22.11 @ 12:37 pm

Here’s the solution for Khem

link to varsityblues.ca

Comment by wbb 12.22.11 @ 12:38 pm

Obviously Khem’s advisors had trouble converting American years to Canadian years. It’s much harder than it sounds – – – right?

Comment by CalvinHobbes 12.22.11 @ 12:54 pm

I feel bad for birch but i am not sure if i take him back it would depend on two things one how his ex team mates feel abought it.
and two how close are to thinking you can get to singing one of the two players you are recruting .

jamie is recruting a 4 star out of NY and a 5 star from nv and he has room for one more player but if he takes nirch back he wont have that room any more. is it worth it to save the kid yes but can he be saved with thoes people in his ear may be not.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.22.11 @ 12:54 pm

Tough one, if Birch comes back it means less PT for Moore, Zanna, and obviously Gilbert. Definitely not good for team chemistry, and for their development.

Although he is going to be good if not great, how long will it take and will Pitt benefit before he leaves again.

If he is too slight now, what happens when he plays against the big boys of the Big East.

Hate to say it but we are probably better off without him.

Comment by gc 12.22.11 @ 1:07 pm

Yep, tough cal1.

The reward for taking Birch back is a year or two away. He isn’t a big net positive right now. He could be a difference maker in a year. The risk is he won’t stay long enough to realize that reward. Either he won’t develop quickly enough or he’ll leave again (or both).

And as FRANKCAN said there is an opportunity cost to taking him back. Pitt would loose out on a recruit and loose valuable minutes, development time for Zanna and Gilbert (both players who will help the program for two more years).

Dixon has to be convinced that Birch is in it for the long haul, AT LEAST one more year and probably two. Otherwise it isn’t worth the risk/cost.

High stakes poker.

Comment by boubacar aw 12.22.11 @ 1:27 pm

Come on people, Birch is what 18-19 yrs old. So the kid was a little homesick, got some bad advice, and acted like a spoiled teenager.

Haven’t we all? Welcome him back. Have Dixon teach him to grow up and be a man. Don’t coaches preach that all the time? Hell, he might come back with a chip on his shoulder and become a great player, while learning a valuable life lesson.

Plus…It’s the Christmas thing to do…doesn’t anyone remember the forgiving part of the whole season?

Comment by OliviaPitt 12.22.11 @ 1:31 pm

I remember the giving part of Christmas but forgiving is Easter. I don’t forgive Birch for what he did to his coach and team. The lesson learned is that he’s not welcome back.

Comment by TX Panther 12.22.11 @ 1:39 pm

@TX Panther..you’d have to grow up Catholic we were suppose to forgive 365 24×7.

As someone pointed out above..Bostick did the same thing, and he was welcomed back.

On a different note, I like the fact that Dixon was asked to call UW’s BB coach for his opinion on Chryst (reported somewhere I cannot remember where I read it) There is no other school I can think of that has their BB coach’s imput on a Football hire. Just fire Peterson already and have Dixon do a Basketball Coach/AD combo.

Comment by OliviaPitt 12.22.11 @ 1:57 pm

Different circumstances. Bostick took a short term leave of absence to get his act together. Birch basically said goodbye and in my words quit. Bostick’s leaving had nothing to do with playing time or not cutting it. Birch is immature, emotional, and getting some bad guidance. I don’t forgive JoePa, Sandusky, Graham or Birch. The first three can all rot in hell. And, I’m saying this as a Catholic.

Comment by TX Panther 12.22.11 @ 2:07 pm

Khem’s “advisors” this term struck me as if he belonged to a Mafia family. Who has “advisors” in the sense this term is being implied at his age?

If any of us have not made numerous judgement mistake in our lives (marry the wrong person, take the wrong job, etc.,) that would be a real story. If any of us did not have trouble fitting in at first at a job or with your in-laws or other social groups, that would be another story.

I hope he comes back to Pitt. As far as I am concerned he has nothing to prove to coach Dixon or his teammates except that he had doubts as we all do and needed time away to consider want he wanted to do for himself, not his advisors, his coach or his teammates.

If by his own decision he wants to come back and play at Pitt this would indicate a more mature commitment than most players make coming out of high school. Telling coach Dixon he seriously considered what he wanted and it was to come back to Pitt the coaching staff and team would be dishonoraable not to welcome him back.

His teammates apparently believe he is a shy person so they ought to make an extra effort (not becuase of his high school rep) to make him feel belonged but because he is their teammate.

If he returned the coaches should sit down with him and explain what every player at Pitt is expected to do and that he can expect no different treatment than anyone else on the team. Such as his playing time will be determined by his performance nothing else and the position played is determined by the value to the team.
If he understands this now Birch can become a true Pitt starwith some work in the weight room.

Comment by DRW 12.22.11 @ 2:19 pm

I’m all for forgiving him but I don’t think having him back would benefit the team chemistry. It sucks that he made a mistake but it’s a life lesson. You live and you learn. I wish him luck.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 12.22.11 @ 2:21 pm

TX Panther – you are entirely correct and the situation was a bit more serious than most fans know.

But the key point is that Bostick was never OFF the team. He had been enrolled at PITT already and had been working out at the complex as part of the team. He was granted a leave of absence by DW for those two weeks.

That said the fact is that the rest of the team and the staff could have made things very uncomfortable for him but they did the exact opposite and welcomed him with open arms. One reason for that was that Bostick was the opposite of a Prima Donna and as humble as they come… which is why Pat Bostick loves PITT so much.

The PITT BB program would have to do the same with Khem. However, gauging from the reactions of his fellow players I get that Birch had alienated them earlier and they weren’t entirely broken up to see him go.

Comment by Reed 12.22.11 @ 2:30 pm

Yeah, you gotta take the kid back but ONLY if you think its not gonna disrupt the team.

We’re crowded up front this year and next. Nas, Taylor, Gilbert and Zanna all deserve playing time. Replace Nas with Adams next year. Where does Birch fit in either year. Which one are you gonna tell they have to play less now if Birch comes back?

We had this problem solved for this year with Gilbert’s redshit but Birch’s decision forced Dixon forgo that. So now what?

(and what would we have done next year anyway — Taylor, Gilbert, Zanna and Adams AND Birch?!)

As good as Birch is, and as tragic it is that his advisors or his homesickness lead him astray, I just don’t know he can come back. That said, I’d welcome him if the team did.

Comment by PantherP 12.22.11 @ 2:46 pm

It’s a good thing for Khem that Gary McGee graduated last year. If he thinks practices are too hard and he gets banged around and abused too much this year, he’d a quit after a week of McGee abusing him.
Also, if his “advisers” think he’s ready for the NBA, I have to ask, who is he going to guard? Every power forward and center in the league would chew him up. He needs at least two more years before he should even think about turning pro.

Comment by Crackbaldo 12.22.11 @ 2:56 pm

Jamie will make the right decision, if the time comes.

I’m sure he’ll have a team meeting with his players input.

Forgiving him for his actions, does not mean that he gets to come back automatically.

I forgive him and wish him well, but if the coaches and players say no, no harm done.

I also know he’s just a “kid”, but, I have about 5-6, 16-19 year olds work for me during the summer.

Most of them show up at 8am, never late, work till 5pm, have fun, enjoy the job, and are happy to be making some summer money during high school and college summer breaks.

So, I know a lot of kids, that are very responsible. Having a full ride scholarship to get your degree, and hone your skills for a possible NBA ticket, then walking out on your coach and fellow players, that’s not just some kid showing up 10 minutes late for work because his car was dead.

Forgive, absolutely, get to walk right back in, not neccessarily.

Comment by Dan 12.22.11 @ 2:58 pm

Amazing, isn’t it. Leading into this season, there was a strong sentiment that Birch was extremely important to this program (I count myself among that group) and its success, not so much this year but definitely next year. And now, based on this stupid (stupid, stupid, stupid… did I say stupid?) decision, there are those who question whether or just flat out don’t think Dixon should take him back — if, indeed, he actually does want to return. And, again, I put myself in that questioning group. Team chemistry is important, and player development is important, and if Birch were to come back, it could have an affect on the first and will definitely have an affect on the second.

What a difference a week makes. Same can be said about the Chryst hire. I like the hire, am glad Fraud is outta here, and it appears that the program will not suffer from a recruiting standpoint and may have only gained from a team chemistry/solidarity standpoint.

Nice.

Now for the presser.

Comment by Carmen 12.22.11 @ 3:00 pm

Exactly Reed, I have no idea, but I never heard a team mate pissed off at Pat Bostick.

If Birch was being a jerk, and not being part of the TEAM, totally different situation.

Comment by Dan 12.22.11 @ 3:01 pm

Olivia, I’m with ya wit hregard to the fact that this is a young kid with sky-high potential — way more so than Bostick. One has a clear path to the pro’s, the other def did not. We can’t compare the seriousness of either’s reason to leave.

and by the way, TX Panther. I’m sure you didn’t mean it, but it could be taken as pretty appalling putting Birch in the same sentence as Sandusky, JoePa or Graham. Lightyears of difference.

Anyway, there’s no jusitifcation for condemning the kid at this point, not knowing exactly what’s going on. Whatever Khem is going through is likely just as serious as Bostick was, but with higher stakes (the former has/had a clear path to the pros, the latter did not). Whether he comes back depends entirely on whether Dixon thinks its ok for chemistry purposes. Let’s hold off on our moral judgement until the entire story comes out.

Comment by PantherP 12.22.11 @ 3:02 pm

I don’t think that Khem was being a jerk just not associating with the rest of the team. He’s been described as a loner. Sam Young had the same issues up to the day he graduated. The difference is that Sam still practiced hard and would spend the night at the gym. I haven’t gotten the same vibe in regards to Khem’s passion for the game. If he was looking for an easy route to the NBA he chose poorly.

If Khem was welcomed back, his minutes are going to be severely diminished. His decision put Dixon in a situation of taking Gilbert’s redshirt away.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 12.22.11 @ 3:09 pm

I would have no problem with him rejoining the team. And it isn’t because he is that talented. It is because he is young and will make mistakes. As long as he owns up to everything and recognizes the problems, he should be allowed back if he wants… but he has to make the effort.

Comment by Panther3321 12.22.11 @ 3:14 pm

WVU’s Aaric Murray arrested for possession. I think Pitt recruited him.

Comment by alcofan 12.22.11 @ 3:19 pm

Voytik_8 Chad Voytik
So excited about the hire. Should be getting a call from him soon. This process has been such a blessing and lesson for me. #Godisgood

Comment by Yup 12.22.11 @ 3:30 pm

One thing in Kem’s favor … he realy didn’t burn any bridges and said that loved Coach Dixon and teammates even though he was leaving.

I with Dan in trusting that Coach will make the right decision

Comment by wbb 12.22.11 @ 3:35 pm

Maybe not directed at me, but, I have no moral judgement on the kid.

I believe I said “I forgive” him.

I totally disagree with a few of you, and the statement, “he should be allowed to come back if
HE wants to”.

He should be allowed back, if Coach Dixon and the team want him back.

If they do, that’s fine.

Comment by Dan 12.22.11 @ 3:51 pm

I’m for giving him a second chance; we all make mistakes. Khem must understand that its not about him but the team that matters.

Comment by MariettaMike 12.22.11 @ 3:52 pm

P.S. heard a lot of people in the media, (not any of us, we don’t know him), but media or people who know Coach Chyrst, “great guy, great coach, but’s he’s a bore”.

I just listened to him, maybe not dynamic, but, I would hardly say he was a “bore”.

I actually liked listening to him.

Comment by Dan 12.22.11 @ 3:54 pm

Voytik says all the right things – I’m already rooting for him to win our QB job. If our new coach was able to turn around his last QB (Russell Wilson) in their one year together, maybe he can work magic with a true freshman who seems to have a good head on his shoulders!

Comment by dish 12.22.11 @ 3:56 pm

to clarify my poor typing … I meant to write ..

I agree with Dan in trusting that Coach will make the right decision.

Comment by wbb 12.22.11 @ 3:57 pm

Seriously…Chryst is an Offensive and QB coach at true nature.

He can really build something special here with Voytik, Shell and Graham.

Ahhhh, IT IS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE OF SHIT GRAHAM.

Comment by Yup 12.22.11 @ 3:59 pm

Do Advisers = Posse?

Comment by Dan 72 12.22.11 @ 4:06 pm

IF Birch does want to come back, that’s a decision Coach Dixon will have to make after careful considertion with the rest of the team.

Time will tell whether Voytik will or will not be a good college quarterback, but he sure does say the right things. He really seems to have a good head on his shoulders. I’m liking his leadership skills – something we’ve been missing from the qb position.

Very excited to see the staff Chryst can put together. The future is looking bright again.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 12.22.11 @ 4:35 pm

No question that Coach will make the right call.

However, unless the kid has truly figured it out and is willing to put team goals ahead of personal goals,he will cause further distraction.

Sure, he is young and young people often make poor decisions, some learn from them, many don’t.

Call me old school, but I don’t like the one and dones. I think the NBA should do like the NFL.

How many kids get hurt because they go for the brass ring when they could have a four year degree to fall back on?

Birch is obviously immature, physically and emotionally. If he knew he had to stay for three years, he wouldn’t be as stressed about getting to the Big Time.

From what we saw on the floor, he could use at least three. And what is wrong with that?

Comment by gc 12.22.11 @ 4:37 pm

What a relief. I viewed the entire press conference and was VERY,VERY PLEASED. Not only with Coach Chryst, but also with AD Pederson. The former came off with: humility. humor, a sense of history, an appreciation of tradition, a genuine respect and pride in family AND an appreciation for having been RECRUITED by Pitt. It was also gratifying to learn that our new coach will have nationak exposure at the Rose Bowl game on Jan. 2 Many a Panther fan will be watching that contest. Go Pitt and go Badgers!! Rev. George in Columbus.

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 12.22.11 @ 4:39 pm

For what its worth, Coach Chyrst did a good job with his introductory remarks, sounded sincere, grounded.

Also, time will tell but it seems that Pedersen ran a quality search and got it done quickly and efficiently.

Merry Chyrstmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year and HAIL TO PITT!

Comment by gc 12.22.11 @ 4:47 pm

HERE is the thing if he comes back and the 5 star we are recruting wants to come to PITT we have to take some ones scholarship away
if he does not come back we dont have to becuse we would have one to give.
i dont like to take one from some one who wants to be here what are your thoughts when you look at like that.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.22.11 @ 4:47 pm

After the past year in Pitt football I can’t believe anyone would be disappointed with someone considered “boring.” We could use some boredom around here. I’ll take boring and sincere over exciting and full of s@#! anyday

Comment by Ghost of Hornman 12.22.11 @ 4:51 pm

Frankly Frankcan, I agree. Who on the team gets the short straw? Shoudn’t the University be committed to those who came, but weren’t quite good enough? Ethics work both ways.

Comment by gc 12.22.11 @ 4:58 pm

Played college basketball myself. Just d3, so clearly at a different level, but in d3 we had no scholarships and had several instances of people quitting or transferring. In the case of kids quitting our coach would allow them back at practice, but they were done playing in games for the year. Happened twice, and worked well on both occassions. Te kids realized they messed up, paid their dued, and showed commitment to the program. They also benefited from practicing everyday and improving . Could see something similar happening in this case.

Comment by Big Bill 12.22.11 @ 5:00 pm

Did not burn bridges so let him back and put him in the weight room Hail To Pitt

Comment by 63Team 12.22.11 @ 5:41 pm

FRANKCAN,

I really don’t feel qualified to make that decision or even make that armchair decision. Among things I would have to know:

While publicly he didn’t seem to burn bridges what really went on behind closed doors and practices?

Did Birch actually offend or be disrespectful?

How likely is that 4* or 5* we seem to be courting for next year?

Who has more upside – Birch or that new recruit?

How sincere does Birch seem?

Do the other players want him back?

Was he really just a loner or was he a malcontent?

IF I knew those answers, I could foor an opinion. As it stands, I feel compleely confident in saying I put my trust in Jamie for this one.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 12.22.11 @ 5:51 pm

Bowling green what you say makes sence.I dont know
for sure what the odds are that we get the 5 star
there is also a 4 star but i would think may be a 60 percent chance we get one of them and i thougt we had agood shot at the 5 star before birch left
and i was wondering who whould be the odd man out and like i say that was before he left.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.22.11 @ 6:30 pm

gc you are so right.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.22.11 @ 6:33 pm

Do not forget for a moment that subconciously or not the players most affected by Birch’s leaving “Zania” was the most vocal about him not fitting in, not being able to handle the practices, and even “crying” in one of the practices. No one seems to question Zania’s statements as potentially self-serving.

Every player wants more time on the court and if a player much more skilled who plays the same positions as you leaves the program and if the press asks you or you seek out the press for a comment you may have a good reason to throw him under the bus.

Would any of the players feel differently if they had trouble adjusting to the big time their freshman year. None of the players on this team, except Taylor, have any idea of the expectations and pressures that were on Birch. No of them including Taylor with expectations that were over inflated and was required to be a major contributor or a starter immediately.

Ths is not Kentucky were everyone went to the NBA and you learn as you start. I hope for Pitt’s sake he comes back. The chemistry line is coming from the players benefitting from his absence. No one can say that can forsee a potential stronger front line in the country than Adams at center and Birch at SF.

Comment by DRW 12.22.11 @ 7:54 pm

coach chryst is looking at montanss jonathan smith to come to pitt to coach the QBS

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.22.11 @ 8:52 pm

Like so many kids his age there is chaos in Birch’s head, he’s not equipped to make such a drastic, life altering, career path decision; he’s running from that which he needs most. Coming back and being a man about it is a good start and Dixon will and should give him the opportunity. I want to see him back in his Pitt uniform as soon as possible. Watching him courtside in Knoxville I could see this kid has presence. When he figures things out he will have no limit.

Comment by Old School Panther 12.22.11 @ 11:53 pm

Who the crap are this kid’s advisers. What a bunch of dumb-asses

Comment by Tony C 12.23.11 @ 4:34 am

I didn’t know my head from my a** when I was 18. Who here hasn’t made a mistake in their lives?

If the “kid” truly repents and makes a good faith effort to fit in, then take him back. If handled the right way will show Jamie really cares about the players he recruits. And Birch can help this team right now, if nothing more than keeping sleepy honest

Comment by TZ 12.23.11 @ 7:27 am

Yeah, let’s bring him back, so that he can divide the locker room like he’s dividing Pitt fans on this Blog. Let’s alienate half the team and destroy everything that is Pitt Basketball for one highly overrated player! Brilliant idea…NOT!!

Comment by Steelfan 12.23.11 @ 8:59 am

Hey, folks:

It’s just sports were talking about here!I have read references to hell,religon, and repenting, i repeat it is only sports. We have major issues in our world, and khem birch leaving pitt is not one of them, sorry! i would love to see him return to the program, for his personal growth process. But if he doesn’t, that is okay, and i wish him the best. All of you who take all this stuff so serious, find a cause that really matters, and pursue it with the same passion as you do pursuing sports stories. PLeeeeeaaasssseeee.

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Comment by Kaye Stater 01.05.12 @ 11:55 pm

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