Birch Leaves The Team

Khem Birch--a five-star recruit in the 2011 class--has left the program, despite starting the last six games and leading the team with 19 blocked shots. He was averaging 4.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in ten games played this season.

Pittsburgh—University of Pittsburgh Basketball Coach Jamie Dixon announced Friday evening that freshman center Khem Birch (Montreal-Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec/Notre Dame Academy, Mass.) has decided to withdraw from the team.

"Khem has decided to leave the team for personal reasons," Dixon said. "We thank Khem for his contribution to our program over the last semester and wish him great success in the future."

Birch, a 6-foot-9, 209-pound center, started each of Pitt's last six games. He led the Panthers in blocked shots (19), averaged 4.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game and shot 57.1 percent (16-28) from the floor.

Birch totaled one double-double (15 points/10 rebounds) at Penn on Nov. 25 and surpassed career-highs for blocked shots (six) and rebounds (11) in a home win against Robert Morris on Nov. 27.

No. 15 ranked Pitt (9-1) hosts South Carolina State tomorrow at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. on Pitt Panthers Television, SNY and ESPN3.

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