Greek champions Olympiacos engaged the first signing for the upcoming season, and it is the Canadian big-man Khem Birch, who spent last season with the Turkish club Usak Sportif, which simultaneously was its debut season in Europe.
Birch with the club from Piraeus signed a two-year contract worth 1.1 million dollars, and in the Olympiacos is coming as a replacement for Othello Hunter, which in the meantime strengthened Real Madrid. He played a very good season in the strong Turkish championship, where he averaged 10.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks on 32 matches. During the previous period he was one of the most sought-after centers in Europe, but the Olympiacos was the fastest and the most concrete, so the 24-year-old player will pose a big boost in the paint of the former European champions.
Advantages of Khem Birch, a former student of the University of Nevada (UNLV), primarily are the great game in defense and excellent timing for the rebound. In addition, he is not a typical center, because he has skill and speed which enable him to play at power forward position. With the playing style, but also with his structure is similar to the player of Fenerbahce, Ekpe Udoh and by all odds the Greek powerhouse did a great job engaging Birch. Before coming to Europe, 206 cm tall player one season spent playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the NBA D-League, where he participated in the All-Star match, and at the end of the season he won several accomplishments – He was named the NBA D-League All-Defensive First Team, and was also found in the NBA D-League All-Rookie First Team. Players from the soil of North America are reluctant to go to Europe and prefer to remain in the NBA D-League, waiting for the engagement in the NBA, and the same situation was with the new player of Olympiacos, who at the last moment last autumn decided to go to Turkey.
In Greece there may not be so many quality teams as in the Turkish league, but Olympiacos certainly represents a step forward in the career of Khem Birch. He will perform in the Euroleague, which automatically increases the chance to try out one day in the NBA, but also the possibility that in Europe well charge his games. As Olympiacos apparently no longer count on the young Serbian center Nikola Milutinov, Birch will share playing time with Patric Young and Georgios Printezis, undoubtedly great players, so he will have room for further progress in the game. One should not forget the incredible Vassilis Spanoulis, who has been for years great cooperating with tall players forcing pick and roll game, in which Khem Birch is also doing fine. This is definitely cooperation that will please the club and the player.