Khem Birch may only be a role player this season.
The 6'9" Canadian power forward was a McDonald's All-American and Top-10 recruit, making him the highest-rated recruit in Panthers history. Despite those accolades, Birch doesn't come without flaws and may struggle to see significant minutes once Big East play starts.
Right now the strength of Birch's game is his ability to be a shot-blocking presence in the middle on defense. His rebounding ability will also be an asset to the Panthers, especially on the offensive end. He could potentially be the program's best offensive rebounder since DeJuan Blair, although he isn't quite on the level of Blair. His athleticism and ability to run the floor could be a bonus as well.
Birch is a skinny kid, weighing 210 pounds, and because of that he lacks the strength to really be able to bang inside against the likes of Herb Pope, Gus Gilchrist, Andre Drummond and Rakeem Christmas. He's also still quite raw, especially on the offensive end. Birch will do the bulk of his scoring in transition or after an offensive rebound, but his post game needs major work.
Birch will play because it will be hard for Jamie Dixon to keep this talent off the court for a full year, but if the recent preseason scrimmages are any indication he may only be a role player. Birch could be a guy that averages between 10-15 minutes per game early on, and his play then will determine his role once Big East play rolls around. Unfortunately for him, most fans would see a year like this as a disappointment because of the hype he received.