Leaving Las Vegas: Birch declares for NBA Draft

UNLV forward Khem Birch, a two-time Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year, announced on Twitter on Thursday afternoon that he has decided to bypass his senior season with the Rebels and apply for the NBA Draft.

The popular 6-foot-9, 220-pound shot-blocker, who drew national attention when UNLV’s student section, The Rebellion, unveiled a 20-foot 3D recreation of Birch named “Khem Kong” in his honor, averaged 11.5 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.8 blocks as a junior.

Some believed Birch, a second team all-Mountain West selection, would return for his senior year to try and improve his offensive game and improve his NBA stock. NBAdraft.net, which began including Birch in its mock drafts on Wednesday, projects him going No. 54 to the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round and rates him as second round to undrafted as a prospect.

Birch is the second Rebel forward to leave early for the NBA Draft, joining Roscoe Smith, who also is currently listed as a second round/undrafted prospect by NBAdraft.net and is not listed in its lasted mock draft.

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