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Pitt hoops lands top power forward

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Pitt landed its highest-rated recruit in Jamie Dixon’s eight years when Khem Birch — a five-star prospect from Canada regarded as the nation’s top power forward for the Class of 2012 — made a verbal commitment to the Panthers on Wednesday night.

Birch, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., is ranked as the No. 2 overall prospect by ESPNU and No. 4 by Rivals.com. The previous highest-rated recruit under Dixon was center Dante Taylor, a five-star recruit in the Class of 2009.

Birch had scholarship offers from Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Ohio State, Providence, St. John’s and West Virginia. He was recruited by new assistant coach Pat Skerry, who had developed ties with Birch while at Providence.

Birch is the second player from the Class of 2012 to pick Pitt, along with Steve Adams, a highly regarded 6-foot-11 center from New Zealand.

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