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January 18, 2012

Spouting Off: Khem Birch Edition

Filed under: Basketball,Players,Transfer — Chas @ 12:21 pm

Birch or Graham? Graham or Birch? I would much rather not have to mention either one for at least six months. Instead they both decided to spout off this week. Well, since Birch went first, I’ll start with him.

Player transfers happen. Even mid-year ones involving high-level recruits. Every year there are a handful of them for whatever reason. It’s the first time it happened to Pitt so we may be reacting like it is something bizarre, but it really isn’t so far removed from reality. No matter how much some sportswriters decry it as a plague upon the game.

For the most part, these players find their new school. Make the choice and other than a few perfunctory interviews or press releases saying mainly that they just want to look forward to the future. Saying nice things about their new school and coach. Then they lower their head and are not heard from until they actually step out on the court in a year.

This works, because, they are athletes. They ultimately get judged by their performance on the court. Do well, and the transfer was reasonable and clearly was the right choice. Flop or fail to match the hype and you are a spoiled product of the AAU culture who can’t face his own failings.


Apparently the “advisors” for Khem Birch took a look at Jerry Sandusky’s interview with Bob Costas after being charged with multiple molestations and said, “Hey, that’s the kind of strategy we should follow!”

So, they decided that having Birch do a radio interview with Pittsburgh sports radio was a fine way to help with his image. Because that matters in Las Vegas and will make a difference in a market where he no longer goes to school or plays. Here’s the audio of the interview and the transcript of his interview on 93.7 FM.

Some of the key exchanges:

Gregg Giannotti: We want to hear from you what your determining factor was to leave Pittsburgh.
Khem Birch: I felt like it all started when Pat Skerry had left from what he had told me, and then when I got there and all of a sudden when I experienced the system.

No real shock here. When Skerry left Providence for the Pitt job, Birch went from being a dead lock Providence commit to a Pitt commit. When Skerry took that Towson job, Birch did waiver but ultimately stuck with Pitt. If for no other reason than the fact that he had already signed an NLI. Birch did not have that same level of knowing and trusting the coaches at Pitt.

PA: As far as your relationship with Jamie Dixon, I’ve never really heard many people say bad things about the coach.
KB: Oh no, no, no, me and Coach Dixon, we were okay. We didn’t really connect like that.

GG: When you say you didn’t connect, what do you mean by that?
KB: There was no relationship formed. Like, you know, I wouldn’t call him to tell him how I felt and all of that.

Word choice being key here. “Wouldn’t” as opposed to “couldn’t.” He didn’t communicate with Coach Dixon or any of the other assistants about his problems or concerns. If you want to argue that Dixon and the other coaches should have been more proactive at their end in checking on him, making sure things were okay. Finding out if he was having problems, probing and prodding, that’s a valid point. The thing is, we don’t actually know that they didn’t since Pitt isn’t going to say a word.

Again it goes back to his relationship with Skerry — who wooed and recruited him for at least two years. No one else on the staff had much time to get to know him. To recognize any signs that there were problems.

Birch reiterated his primary reason for transferring being that he didn’t like Pitt’s system.

PA: As far as the fit, you see UNLV and there was talk about maybe going to Kentucky; what is it about the way that Pitt plays basketball that doesn’t fit the way you play basketball?
KB: I felt like they slow the ball down too much. It’s not a fast-paced team.

GG: Did they say it was going to be a fast-paced team when you came in, and that kind of changed and that’s what turned you off a little bit?
KB: Yeah, when I was there, they said, ‘We don’t slow the ball down. We’re the third-leading scoring team in the Big East. We don’t slow the ball down.’ They said with all the athletes that were coming in that we were going to be more of an up-tempo team.

The choice for UNLV is interesting. There is no doubt they play more up-tempo. The thing is, Birch (and his advisers) apparently envision his own game as more evolved than it is. Of UNLV’s top-5 scorers, only one is not a perimeter/wing player. Mike Moser — who can shoot 3s and handle the ball. We’ve already seen that Birch is not a particularly strong ball handler and not a great shooter. He may be joining a team that runs, but Birch isn’t going to be getting his number called for scroing except for offensive rebounds and the occasional transition basket when he gets down court fast enough. While there is no doubt UNLV will tweak their game for Birch’s talent, it becomes a question of by how much — especially when he won’t be on the court with them until mid-year.

As for tempo. Not much I can say about that, other than tempo was slow. Pitt could score plenty because of the offense being rather efficient and shooting well early in the season.  I think everyone from the coaches to the players envisioned playing a bit faster, but Pitt was not doing a good enough job taking care of the ball that way — even before Woodall got hurt.

The biggest deal were the comments he made about his former teammates. No surprise on the part where he said he only felt that he had a relationship with two of them. By all accounts he was shy at best, to stand-offish himself. And I’m guessing that his new teammates were a bit put-off and did not work hard to get close to him. But he characterized the whole thing a bit differently.

PA: What was it about the relationship that wasn’t working, as far as your teammate?
KB: I felt like, just coming in as an All-American, they didn’t try to embrace me or anything. I think some felt threatened.

GG: Like a little bit of jealousy?
KB: Yeah, kind of.

PA: Interesting. Dante Taylor, a fellow McDonald’s All-American, did you strike up a decent relationship with him?
KB: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, I used to talk to Dante a lot about what was going on at Pitt and all of that.

GG: Who do you think felt threatened by you?
KB: I don’t want to name any names. I’m just saying like?you know what I mean? I’m just saying, I just felt like some people felt threatened.

Let the speculation run rampant. Or not. It’s amusing to see how tone deaf he is — like so many other 18-year olds. It’s all about him. The problem was his teammates didn’t embrace him. That he was not seen as bestowing his potential greatness on them and the basketball team.

But that was all small potatoes to the final accusation. That this Pitt team is selfish.

GG: Alright, final one for you Khem. What do you think is wrong? The team has struggled right now mightily; what do you think their biggest problem is?
KB: I don’t know. But when I was there, I remember when some people didn’t get what they wanted?during a half, if they didn’t score a certain amount of points, during halftime, it would be silence from those players. It wasn’t like they were happy. Even if we were winning, they would just get mad because they didn’t get what they wanted.

GG: You’re saying it was a little bit selfish in the lockerroom? It wasn’t a team concept?
KB: Yeah, it wasn’t really like a team sometimes, because some people just wanted what they wanted, and if they didn’t get it, they would just mope around.

Cue the taking notice of the irony.

Birch, though, left the team after 10 games because he didn’t get what he wanted, having complained earlier to about playing the center position at Pitt. More playing time was available at center, and ultimately the starting job, whereas senior Nasir Robinson has been a three-year starter at power forward. The Panthers, like most college teams, rarely run plays designed to get their power forward the ball inside. Birch doesn’t have the skills to operate on the perimeter, like Indiana’s Christian Watford or Kentucky’s Terrence Jones.

Not surprisingly, the players didn’t want to say much other than to dispute the “selfish” accusation.

“We are definitely not selfish,” he [Ashton Gibbs] said after Monday night’s loss to Syracuse. “If that’s the opinion of his, that’s the opinion of his. He’s elsewhere right now, and I’m not really worried about him, and I wish him the best of luck.”

Coach Dixon also didn’t have much to say on the matter.

Dixon seemed stunned when told of Birch’s comments. For one thing, no one has ever accused his team of being selfish. People have said it can’t shoot at times over the years. They’ve said it can’t win big NCAA tournament games. But no one has talked of egos being a problem.

“I don’t see that at all,” Dixon said.

Dixon said he spoke often with Birch. “I always told him to let me know how he was feeling.”

Asked if he would handle Birch differently if he had a do-over, Dixon shook his head and said, “Based on what he told me, I don’t know that there could have been a different way.”

Sure there could have been a different way. Built the entire team around Birch for this year to showcase him. Made sure to run all the time regardless of the players. Perhaps even consulted with Birch’s advisers on strategy.

Hope this is the last Birch posting … he moved on, so should we.

Comment by wbb 01.18.12 @ 12:27 pm

Who exactly are the “advisors”?

Comment by Jim from Dallas 01.18.12 @ 12:31 pm

AMEN to that, wbb. Birch is onpleasant history. So be it!! Rev. George in Columbus

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 01.18.12 @ 12:57 pm

Doesn’t seem like he’s really moved on, seeking out a radio spot to air his opinions?

Comment by Dan 01.18.12 @ 1:04 pm

BTW, Towson under Skerry is now 0 – 18. Now every new coach needs time to develop his program .. but 0 and 18!

Comment by wbb 01.18.12 @ 1:16 pm

Dixon is not beyond reproach despite the locked-in-loyalty many fans have for him. I’m not defending Birch, but I’m not defending Dixon either. There is no shortage of narrow-minded condemnations of Birch in the Pittsburgh media. Tearing Birch down without considering his comments is the epitome of group think, a common mental infraction among sports fans. Time for everyone to move on, and time for Dixon to win.

Comment by Tonyinhouston 01.18.12 @ 1:18 pm

Stewart Mandel gives grades to all the new college football hires this year on CNN/

Arizona State (Todd Graham, Pittsburgh head coach): “D”
Forget the unseemly way he exited Pitt. Why exactly is Graham is a hot commodity to begin with? It’s certainly not due to his one 6-6 Big East season. He had three 10-win seasons at Tulsa, but much of the credit belongs to respected offensive coordinators Gus Malzahn and Chad Morris. His one season without either, he went 5-7. But perhaps his fourth dream job in six years will be the one.

Comment by The Turk 01.18.12 @ 1:20 pm

Pittsburgh (Paul Chryst, Wisconsin offensive coordinator): “A-”

On the third try, Pitt got it right. The soft-spoken Madison native had a tremendous impact on the Badgers, particularly their quarterbacks, a sore spot for the Panthers the past several years. His smash-mouth approach fits well in the Steel City, and it helps that he’s bringing renowned offensive line coach Bob Bostad with him.

Comment by The Turk 01.18.12 @ 1:21 pm

Mandel gave Washington State an “A+” for their hire of Mike Leach, Ohio State an “A” for Meyer, and Arizona State an “A-” for hirong DickRod

Comment by The Turk 01.18.12 @ 1:25 pm

you are not goung to like this but there might be some truth to some of what he says
i could see were a player who has been here for years might go at birch alittle harder in practice
than was needed. becuse he thought birch was takeing his place. and birch was skinny we all knew he need to put on weight.
and they mat have froze him out for a time
plus some people are senstive it might have helped if some had taken the time to tell things would change next year that the pace would be faster
just saying you dont throw out the baby with the bath water some times people need a little love
jammie might have been a little to busy to see what was going on and his top asst is new.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.18.12 @ 1:30 pm

I think Wash St is perfect for a guy like Leach since they have been the bottom feeders of the PAC 12 for some time. They need a high-profile character that can arouse some interest, especially in a small media center like Pullman.

He is bound to improve the team quality (can’t get much worse.)

Comment by wbb 01.18.12 @ 1:32 pm

JJ Moore also said that players sort of turned on each other a little bit when the going got tough and shots weren’t falling.

Certainly there were some tensions on minutes, pts and etc among all players that contributed to the out-of-sync play over the last month. Trey’s injury made it harder to find the equilibrium. Then Birch’s departure just compounded the problem.

As Chas & SI point out, that is some bitter irony in light of his comments. Maybe if you would have shown more commitment to help this team, young man, they would have reciprocated by embracing you. and JJ may have said similar things, but he’s stayed to try to fix them and Birch bailed.

This team is predominantly unselfish (to a fault at times) and this has been a hallmark of the program under Dixon. It still is, despite the unexpected growing pains this year. And Pitt teams have been capable of picking up the tempo for some time, but only when they’re in rhythm, which isn’t something you can just walk into and expect. It looks to me, in some ways, that its a self-fulfilling prophecy to say that your leaving because the team is selfish and plays slow tempo ball, when you in the season’s infancy selishly leave the team before it can get into high gear.

To me it seems that, at least for this season, Birch’s talent departure isn’t what hurts us as much as his departures disruption to an already unsteady equilibrium that hurt us.

Anyway, you can say what you want about the guys on the squad now, but they’re sticking with the program and if they do turn it around thru commitment and hustle (like they showed ready to do vs Cuse) it’ll be an achievement of the type Birch will never know.

I’m blabbering (or blathering) and restating what chas already outlined. i know. but its cathartic and helps me procrastinate work.

Comment by PantherP 01.18.12 @ 1:44 pm

Well, we can all debate whether a coach should or shouldn’t “coddle” a top notch athlete, or even just show him a little bit extra love,


you can’t tell 18-22 year olds, nor should they be expected to, “coddle” the new guy. New guys have to earn the respect of their teammates, and many times, it takes time, sometimes years to earn that respect.

Comment by Dan 01.18.12 @ 2:27 pm

A lot of places, it’s called being a freshmen, in professional sports, it’s called being a rookie, and in the work place, it’s called being
the new guy.

Comment by Dan 01.18.12 @ 2:29 pm

Nas, Ashton don’t look like warm and fuzzy type guys who would take on the role of mentor.

I had a mentor when I began at Pitt. He was a fraternity big brother (whose dad, by the way, owned the Pawnshop on the Corner…)

Didn’t yinz?

Comment by steve 01.18.12 @ 2:56 pm

The real irony is that Birch was getting more time as a true freshman that anyone since, I think, Blair, and was a starter. And his time would likely have increased, and probably his offensive touches. The kid wants to be on a playground type team, and that’s fine. What makes this so difficult is the domino effect he caused coming in (losing Bond, who seems to be a player) and now leaving a hole on the roster. Birch should’ve played out the season and then transferred.

Comment by velvil 01.18.12 @ 3:12 pm

i dont say coddle but makeing the new man welcome
would not be bad and not beating on a skinny kid
becuse he is goning to take your job might be nice.
some 18 year olds are street wise some are not i
think he just wanted to be part of the team and felt he wasent after all this was not boxing 101

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.18.12 @ 3:27 pm

The only reason the sissy/quitter came here was bacause of Skerry. He was originally committed to Providence until Skerry came to Pitt. He didn’t want to be here once Skerry left and he only stayed because he had already signed the NLI. Once he realized how overrated he is, he sulked, cryed, quit, went running back home to mommy and now he’s blaming the Pitt players and Dixon for his shortcomings, because they didn’t bend over backwards to make him the centerpiece of the team. Selfish my ass!! The only selfish one is Mtrlsgift or whatever his egotistical twitter name is! Good riddance I say!! He should fit right in with UNLSleaze and their cheating ways!!

Comment by Steelfan 01.18.12 @ 3:56 pm

Whatever faults Dixon may or may not have as a basketball coach, the implication by some that Dixon should have done something differently to cater to Birch is ridiculous. You show favoritism to one guy on your team, you lose the rest of it. How is that a formula for winning? No one should point any fingers at the rest of the team for not coddling and going easy on Birch either. How does the TEAM get better, if one guy has to get special treatment in practice?

I think it was Brad Wannamaker (or maybe Jermaine Dixon) who tweeted shortly after Birch left something along the lines of “some guys are cut out for tough coaching and competing for minutes”. Sounds like they were dead-on right.

Comment by JCE 01.18.12 @ 3:59 pm

Comment by steve 01.18.12 @ 4:42 pm

When Pitt gets more elite talent, Jamie should fine tune his system to take full advantage of it. I wouldn’t call that favoritism. I’d call that smart coaching. I would also agree that elite players have to earn respect and at Pitt that means being tough, practicing hard and producing results on the court in team-like fashion. My only fault of Dixon in his treatment of Birch is that he didn’t get Birch involved enough in these early games. But, that’s a minor fault. It appears the support system was there for Birch but he was paranoid thinking other players were jealous and out to get him. He should have hung in there. Quitters never win.

Comment by TX Panther 01.18.12 @ 5:05 pm

Birch wanted someone to hold his hand. He mentions that he almost left when Pat Skerry took the Towson State job. He’s a baby plain and simple. Assistant coaches leave programs for head coaching jobs! Birch didn’t even finish the season. Unless you are are going to a brand new program without any players, you’re going have split some playing time, particularily if you’re a freshman. As for playing center, Charles Smith was a hell of a lot better player than Kehm Birch and although he liked playing a forward position, he played center. It’s a team game and there are 5 positions on the court that need to filled. Not everyone get to play where thay want to all the time. They have to fill in where needed. Besides with Adams coming in, he would have moved back to forward in his 2nd year. The guy’s a cry baby. Most freshmen playing a sport have a period of adjustment when they move up to college ball. However most of them stick it out.

Comment by Justinian 01.18.12 @ 5:10 pm

You may remember that, in the beginning of the season, Birch played the 4. After a couple of games Jamie switched him to the 5 thinking that there’d be good chemistry between Khem and Nas. He continued at the 5 ’til the bitter end.

Comment by steve 01.18.12 @ 5:13 pm

Newsflash… we are at are lowest point since Howland took over and this team does not have the talent to reload next year… mediocrity for 3 years…

Comment by DeVanzo 01.18.12 @ 8:07 pm

1ball, 5 on the floor at one time, left before January, didn’t finish a semester, now he is an expert in college basketball?

Sorry guys….the streets are filled with guys like this….goodbye son and don’t come back.

Comment by SFPitt 01.18.12 @ 8:34 pm

I love posting here i am a Pitt seaon ticker fan and an alumnus after 1980 Now usually i am not allowed to post on here and i dont know why? I ask my fellow posters: wbb, FRANKCAN, Justinian to emplore the KING of this site to let me post again. My huble apologies to anyone one i have offended i was really tough on Tino. I am sorry Tino its just sports its kida like politics you gotta roll with the punches nothing really personal We are all just sports fans.

Comment by RandyRandyTime 01.18.12 @ 8:39 pm

looks like you just posted, RandyRandyTime. welcome back.

Comment by Bossdaws 01.18.12 @ 8:45 pm


Comment by RandyRandyTime 01.18.12 @ 8:55 pm

DeVanzo, not so fast my friend. “mediocrity for 3 yrs? Not if Adams & Robinson arrive next yr and are as good as advertised. Not if JJohnson continues to improve and emerges as our outside assassin after Gibbs graduates. Not if Cam Wright continues to improve like he did at Syracuse. Not if Tra heals and returns to preinjury form.

Not if Gilbert actually gets to play, improves and gives us a 6’11” shot blocker & backup to Adams. Not if either or both Lamar & JJ start to penetrate & score from the 3 spot.

Not if Jamies continues to mix zone with man to man and improve our D. Not if we actually start making foul shots and cut down on turnovers.

Otherwise, yeah, you’re right. We’re f-cked.

Comment by Bossdaws 01.18.12 @ 8:55 pm

DeVanzo, I was encourgaged by what I saw in the last 2 games at Marquette, and Syracuse. At Syracuse the fell behinf 13-0 and came back and executed well. if they had finished around the hoop a little better and made a few foul shots they very could have won the game. I’m not a Polyanna, I realize the circumstances they in with the losing streak, but I think if contunue to play better they could still achieve some respectability before the season is over. Next year they a 6’$ point guard and a Blue chip center in Adams. I would think that Travon Woodall will be ok by then so the ball handling should be much better.

Comment by Justinian 01.18.12 @ 9:02 pm

you are not going to like this but there might be some truth to some of what he says
i could see were a player who has been here for years might go at birch a little harder in practice
than was needed. becuse he thought birch was takeing his place. and birch was skinny we all knew he need to put on weight.
Comment by FRANKCAN 01.18.12 @ 1:30 pm

Agree with Frankcan.

The threat was to Sleepy’s playing time and according to Zanna they roughhoused Birch in practice. Funny, because these guys play soft in the games.

Most of the Mac All-Americans are use to being catered to. Coach better get better in handling these types or we’re not going to be able to either recruit them or keep them. (note Herrion recruited Taylor and Skerry recruited Birch)
Because we’re never gonna get over that hump without some better recruits, especially those very talented PG’s and wings that usually kill us in The Dance !

And I think it’s noteworthy the reporter asked Gibbs about the selfishness question.

Comment by Emel 01.18.12 @ 10:02 pm

E f’n nuff about Birch please.

He is a typical spoiled coddled AAU product and while he is obviously talented, it has always been about him, his parents and “advisors” or peeps, as we know them.

I could regale all of you with my horror storys of AAU ball which I quit coaching on no less than four occasions. The last time after one of my players had his dad and a few peeps waiting for me in the dark parking lot to display their anger with my pulling their “precious” point guard from the game early. They did not care for my answer.

AAU really adds weight to the adage “the best coaching job is in an orphanage!”
No parents, no advisors, no peeps….no ego.

Comment by Dan 72 01.18.12 @ 10:15 pm

Birch is gone, he’s out. He didn’t want to be here, so as far as I’m concerned I’m glad he’s gone. The season, however, is not done. I might get called crazy, but I absolutly believe that this team can somehow, someway finish 9-9 in the Big East and win 2 BET games and squeeze into the tourney. Maybe I am nuts, but I just think that somehow these kids will scratch and claw their way back into this thing.

Comment by Pitt Rob 01.18.12 @ 11:55 pm

You are nuts Rob but I like your optimism.

Comment by TX Panther 01.19.12 @ 6:59 am

Pitt or any program could use a talented player like Birch. We miss him now and will in the future. Dixon may need to learn how to be flexible with players as managers do ion any organization. Some players like employees react well to pushing them others to praising them (negative or positive reinforecement). This is not favortism this managerial skill.

Birch did desrve more playing time – he was at the time and will in the future twice the player Robinson is. He should of been playing at the 4 since Adams will be here next year and Birch needed to work on his game in that position.

Dixon unlike Calhoun and Boeheim do not force his top players to play out of position. They compensate until they get the next piece.

Taylor should go to the 4 now and Robinson should go to the bench. The argument that neither Zanna or Taylor could guard at the 4 is wrong. Since they are not 5 they can not defense in the post. At the 4 both would be matched up against players of their same height. There are few SF in college that can put the ball on the floor and take it to the basket.

Next year Robinson will be gone and this will help the team. Gibbs will be gone and it will not hurt the team because Johson has shown himself to be an equal at the 3 point range. Robinson, a true point guard with some height will be here. Adams a true center will play the post Taylor and Zanna at SF (rotating to cneter to spell Adams). If Birch had been handled properly Adams and Birch could have been a force.
Taylor at 4 may finally show that along with his already strong rebounding game some offense because he will not be up against bigger and stronger defenders. He should benefit from Adams prescence in the post.

I hope Dixon starts Adams and Robinson from the start as they would be at Syracuse and Uconn. Let them develop so by February they are not rookies.

Winning 20 games by mid-January and losing 70% of your last games during the Big East and NCAA time is sometimes the product of favoring less talented upperclassmen (Robinson) and eroding the skills of players by having them play in positions were they can not compete (Taylor).

Comment by DRW 01.19.12 @ 10:13 am

I got some bade vibes the minute I saw the ‘Khem Trail,’ however hilarious it looked. My absolutely biased and armchair psychologist open letter advice for Khem — you want to be noticed on the floor? Don’t be consistantly out of position and generally lost on the floor. Look confident, like you belong and know what you’re doing. As easy as you are to spot when you make a play (and you made a few), you’re doubly easy to spot when you f@*! up, which even the best freshmen will do at least occasionally, if not consistantly. You’re no exception on that front.

The contrast between you and Gary McGhee is striking. By the time he grew out the dreads and got inked, he was easy to spot in a mostly good way. He was confident, understood the schemes on both ends of the floor, played hard, and when you noticed him it was largely in a good way. If he was that easy to spot as a frosh, it would have just been embarassing, much like it was most of the time we caught a glimpse your ridiculous coif.

The fact that you chose Pitt at all suggested that maybe you’re not the typical spoiled 5 star AAU darling and that you wanted to learn to play the game the right way. That was obviously not the case. I imagine maybe you’ll play for some NBA team some day (or maybe not — lots of your type wash out too), and I’ll cite YOU as the reason why the NBA is largely unwatchable and an afront to people who actually enjoy watching the game of basketball played the right way.

Comment by Ghost of Hornman 01.19.12 @ 10:31 am

“I got some bade vibes the minute I saw the ‘Khem Trail,’ however hilarious it looked.”
That’s funny, Ghost…in a much earlier post, I made a similar comment. You don’t see hairstyles like that on real players. They let their games speak for themselves. By the way, it didn’t look “hilarious” to me; it looked like a punk kid.

Comment by Lou 01.19.12 @ 12:08 pm

Woodall will be the starting point guard next year. James Robinson is not going to come in and start over him. I can see Adams winning the starting role at center, with Taylor and Gilbert off the bench. Zanna will play power forward. Taylor’s offensive game is not suited for power forward and it is probably too late in his collegiate career to convert him. They will find a juco transfer, a talented freshman, or Patterson will fill the role. Losing Gibbs will be big. John Johnson has proved he can hit long range set shots when he has the ball. That’s all really. Hasn’t shown anything off the ball, working off of screens, etc. and he rarely creates. 80% of his points are from free throws and long heaves. He came into the program as a grinding, driver type of city player, so this is a nice surprise. He’s playing in Gibbs’ shadow more or less now, so hopefully he’ll come into his own next year.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 01.19.12 @ 12:25 pm


Don’t forget Durand Johnson will be a redshirt freshman and likely compete for SG time with Gibbs gone.

Comment by Chas 01.19.12 @ 12:32 pm

Yes, yes. Forgot about Johnson. His height and size should make him a possibility at both 2 or 3. Looking forward to see what he can bring to the table. He and J.Johnson were both scorers in high school. They hopefully will be nice complements to Woodall, Epps, and Robinson.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 01.19.12 @ 12:51 pm


Yes. I agree. And by “hilarious,” I mean ‘look at that punk kid! Doesn’t he look hilariously ridiculous!’ I don’t care how players want to demonstrate their individuality, but if you want to draw attention, make sure it’s for the right reason — in this case his hair was more ostentatious than his game.

Comment by Ghost of Hornman 01.19.12 @ 3:15 pm


That one fella had it right, the pitt basketball team is always spouting off about how tough they are and how hard they practice, and get after it, maybe they shouldn’t do it in practice and try doing it in the games. They are very,very weak in real games and show very,very little enthusiasm, or unity, either. And please coach dixon when you bring the ball upcourt over the halfcourt line, try something other than throwing it to the same corner everytime, everybody, including the opponent knows where it is going to.

Comment by greg 01.19.12 @ 5:53 pm

Hey Dan, I can see why you didn’t coach too long. Do you anything of kehm Birch’s background. He did not play any serious highschool basketball from grade 9-11. Making it on the canadian national junior team, playing well in chicago, multiple scolarship offers promises from assistant coaches people can make mistakes about attending a school, coached get paid million of dollars to help shape a top player to make the pros

Comment by Shawn 02.04.12 @ 10:54 pm

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