Khem Birch is highest-ranked recruit to sign with Pitt under Jamie Dixon. Dante Taylor was also a five-star recruit coming out of high school just two years ago. Taylor was Scout's No. 16 player in the Class of 2009. Birch was the No. 4 player in the Class of 2012.
Birch has decided to forego his senior season at Notre Dame Academy in Fitchburg, Massachusetts to sign on with Pitt for 2011. He will be here this summer.
Though Dixon would not go into specifics, he did say that in the case of a player like Birch--who is a native of Dollar-des-Ormeauz, Quebec, Canada--rules on kids from other countries differ, and almost seem easier in terms of admittance requirements based on examples of other players who have done so in the past.
"As often times with international kids, sometimes things are interpreted differently," Dixon said. "There's still an awful lot of work to be done. No guys (for the Class of 2011) are qualified at this point. He is going to try and not have that post-graduate year."
Age-wise, Birch's birthdate is September 28, 1992. Of the other four signees in the 2011 class, Birch is older than Jaylen Bond (April 11, 1993).
Just this past weekend, Birch put up some big numbers at the National Prep Showcase in New Haven, Connecticut. In a game against Fishburne Military Academy (Va.), he finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds. He also had an 11-point, six-rebound effort against Arizona's Westwind Prep. This past summer, Birch helped the U-18 Canadian Junior National team to a bronze medal this past summer at the World Championships in San Antonio.
"I can't get into the specifics (about Birch signing)," Dixon said. "It was his decision. I can't get into too much detail on the academics. That's what his plan is, what he relayed to us and what his family relayed to us. That's where it stands. I can't go too much into the specifics."
A similar case happened for Rutgers for its 2008 recruiting class, when Greg Echenique committed to the Scarlet Knights. Echenique was a native of Venezuela, and all along during the recruiting process, was a highly-touted member of the 2009 class. Echenique committed to the Scarlet Knights as a member of the 2009 class, in March of his junior year. Two months later--in May of 2008--he wrapped up his requirements at St. Benedict's in New Jersey, and was admitted to the 2008 class at Rutgers. Echenique, of course, transferred to Creighton this past offseason.Dixon, though excited about Birch, was still hesitant to go much further in talking about Birch's signing.
"There's a number of things we can't talk about, in regards to academics," Dixon said. " We got (his signed letter of intent) in (Wednesday). I'm excited about our class."
Dixon may have been hesitant, but Birch's future teammate Travon Woodall was not. Instead of having to wait until his senior year to team with Birch, Woodall gets to play with Woodall next year.
"It's very exciting to hear that we're getting a very good player," Woodall said. "He's a pretty good player. Like coach Dixon said, a lot of guys come in here not really ranked that high. Now, (Birch) is one of those guys who comes in ranked high. It's going to show how much he's going to improve, and coach Dixon is going to make him into a better player."