Pittsburgh Panthers’ McDonald’s All-American forward has decided to transfer from the Steel-City, according to CBSSports.com. First it was Todd Graham and now it’s Birch. Two “wows” in just a couple of days for the University of Pittsburgh.
Pitt is 7-0 when Birch is in the starting lineup. His high-motor and exuberance gave the entire team a spark that they were missing. He runs the floor unbelievably well for a big man, he blocks and alter shots unlike the university has had in years and he has loads of athleticism.
People were wondering where the toughness was in the early goings of the season. Birch came in and delivered and others followed suit.
He averaged four points, five rebounds and two blocks per contest. When given the opportunity to play 20 or more minutes, Taylor delivered with double-digit rebound performances.
"I'm leaving," Birch told CBSSports.com on Friday night. "I'm headed to Toronto now. I enjoyed my time at Pittsburgh, I love Jamie Coach Dixon, had no problems with the staff and the players. It just wasn't the right fit for me."
Talk about a shot in the stomach.
Sure, the Panthers have inside depth with Dante Taylor and Talib Zanna, but Birch’s athleticism is head-and-shoulders above either player. In fact, Birch is the reason why Taylor finally got it together this season. Ever since losing his starting role to Birch because of injury, Taylor has played inspired basketball — something we haven’t seen in his two years.
Dixon is a fantastic coach that has battled odds before, but it will be very interesting to see how this all works out not only this season but next season as well.
Australian super-recruit Steven Adams can’t come soon enough.