Yes, you read correctly. Super prospect Khem Birch is reportedly headed to Pitt NEXT SEASON.
A website, Flagrant Fouls, apparently first reported the news and even has some words from Khem on the decision to reclassify to the class of 2011 instead of 2012:
"I decided that the best thing for my development was to begin my college career next year" said Khem. "I'm going to go to college where I will be a 3/4. I just feel that I have a better chance to develop my skills on the perimeter at the next level than I do with another year of high school."
And no, I hadn't heard of Flagrant Fouls before today, but Scout also picked up the story.
So add Birch to the mix and what does this all mean?
Well for starters, Pitt's 2011 class rankings go up. Way up. ESPN.com, who previously had the Panthers unranked, now have them at #12 in the nation (must be an Insider to view the list).
The move was so recent that ESPN doesn't have a preview of Pitt's class up yet - they've just bumped them up in the rankings. They do, however, have Khem officially listed in Pitt's 2011 class.
The other significant thing is that Pitt is now going to need to have two players leave the program next season with Khem coming aboard, assuming he qualifies academically. If that's the case, we can all speculate on the names who might not be around come 2011. All it takes is a quick look at Pitt's roster as to who might be good candidates to leave.
And the other thing I'll say is that with this news just coming out now, you wonder if all of Pitt's recently-signed recruits would have signed with the school had they known about this. Sure, Birch was coming next season anyway, but with Pitt now potentially two players over the limit there's going to be more shuffling for sure. Would they have looked at the already-crowded class and decided to go elsewhere?
Lastly, you can say that maybe Pitt is aware of something we're not. Maybe someone's already transferring. Maybe someone's not going to qualify academically. But just because Pitt is willing to go two over the limit doesn't necessarily mean the school knows something that we don't. If Birch made this decision on his own, what's Pitt going to do - tell him he can't enroll in 2011 and risk losing him? Of course not - they'll take him whenever they can. The possibility exists that Pitt fully expects everyone to qualify academically and now will have to make some hard decisions.
No matter what happens, 2011 is now looking a lot more promising.