Monday, Jan. 9, 2012 | 4:30 p.m.
Pittsburgh transfer Khem Birch verbally committed to UNLV on Monday night, choosing the Rebels over Florida and New Mexico State.
Birch, a 6-foot-9 power forward and former McDonald's All-American, told TheRecruitScoop.com that he was paired with Mike Moser during his visit this weekend and that he sees himself fitting into a similar mold as the 6-foot-8 Moser, who's averaging 14.2 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.
“I really like UNLV,” he told the website. “It was a very tough decision but UNLV is a good fit for me because of the coaches, players and facilities. I will be able to train during my time off. Also, I can develop under a great, young coach in Dave Rice. He and the entire staff made me feel very comfortable in Las Vegas.”
Birch will be one of five newcomers to the Rebels next season, including commits Katin Reinhardt, DaQuan Cook and Demetris Morant, as well as USC transfer Bryce Jones. Birch played 10 games at Pittsburgh, including six starts, averaging 4.4 points and five rebounds per game.
He took an official visit to UNLV from Friday to Sunday with his mother, Wendy Sparks, and his former AAU coach, Mike George. Birch, a Montreal native, had made visits to Florida and New Mexico State earlier in the week.
The Rebels still have another scholarship to fill, and one candidate is Birch's friend Anthony Bennett, a fellow Canadian power forward who's playing at Findlay Prep. Other possibilities include Gorman's Shabazz Muhammad and St. John's transfer big man Norvel Pelle.
After leaving Pittsburgh unceremoniously, Birch said he's excited to begin anew in Las Vegas.
“For me, it’s a new chapter,” he told TheRecruitScoop.com. “I am looking forward to my experience at UNLV and just enjoying my time as a student athlete in college. I just want to live life, that’s all.”
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