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Khem Birch To UNLV; Billy D Comes Up Short Again

Another big has made his college decision, and once again, the Gators came up short.

Former McDonald’s All-American Khem Birch decided to transfer from Pittsburgh largely because he was playing out of position at center. He took visits to Florida and UNLV before ultimately choosing to sign with the Rebels.

Despite Billy Donovan’s track record for producing NBA-level big men, recently, has struggled to convince just one to play for him in Gainesville.

Certainly, in a vacuum, Birch’s re-recruitment wouldn’t be seen as a recruiting failure for Donovan. After all, Birch had only been on the market for a few weeks and Donovan had to battle UNLV head coach Dave Rice, who has some connections in Canada, where Birch is from.

But looking at the string of recruiting efforts that came up just short – the recruitments of Mitch McGary, Jarnell Stokes and Alex Poythress, for example -- it presents a cause for concern as the number of available prospects gets smaller.

To his credit, Donovan has been in the top lists for numerous top power forwards. However, with the belief that Florida is an elite power forward away from competing for the 2012-13 title, it’s hard to explain how Donovan hasn’t been able to convince one to sign with UF.

In an interview with Five-Star Basketball, Florida signee Michael Frazier said he met Birch during his visit to Gainesville and said “I think if we get him we will be contenders for a national championship next year.”

But now Donovan has to set his sights on other targets. Florida remains a contender for power forwards Anthony Bennett and Christopher Obekpa.

However, the options are dwindling fast, and the pressure is on Donovan to convince just one big to choose Florida on decision day.