Pitt Grabs Top 5 Junior

Jamie Dixon picked up one of his highest rated recruits on Thursday. Khem Birch is now a Panther.

Khem Birch, one of the nation's top 2012 recruits, opted for Pittsburgh late Thursday night.

New Pittsburgh assistant coach Pat Skerry played a major role in the 6-foot-9, 205-pound post prospect picking the Panthers over schools like Syracuse, Kentucky and North Carolina.

"He's a fairly obvious common denominator in this one," Fitchburg (Mass.) Notre Dame Prep coach Ryan Hurd said about Skerry.

"I think it's a level of comfort with coach Skerry and coach [Jamie] Dixon's personality and demeanor," . "It fit really well with what will help him be successful."

Birch, a five-star prospect, had a strong summer showcasing his ability and athleticism. He's even drawn comparison's to class of 2009 big man Derrick Favors.

"For a size his ability to run the floor and block shots [is impressive]," Hurd said. "It's funny for us during open gyms to see the college coaches sit on the sidelines and hear the collective gasps occasionally with the things he does."

Birch, who is ranked No. 1 at the power forward spot and No. 4 overall, is Pittsburgh's second 2012 verbal commitment. Birch joins 6-foot-10 foreign big man Steven Adams.

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