CLEMSON, SC -- Khalil Greene is not your average college sophomore.
One obvious distinction between he and his fellow classmates lies in the fact that he has emerged as one of the nation’s finest baseball players in only two seasons. The Clemson third-baseman boasts a .366 career batting average, including a .376 mark this season and a team-leading 59 runs batted in. At his current pace, the Key West, Florida native is on track to leave Clemson as the school’s most proficient all-time hitter- quite a feat considering the Tigers’ impressive baseball history.
“He’s been steady since the beginning,” says Clemson head coach Jack Leggett. “He’s the guy you want up there with two outs and men on.”
And then there is another factor that sets Greene apart from the sophomore masses: his somewhat peculiar eating habits. While most college students survive on a diet where the four food groups consist of Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Papa John’s, Greene has become devoted to protein bars, chicken, and water.
“He is religious to it,” says Greene’s roommate and Tiger first baseman Mike Calitri. “He eats so well. He doesn’t eat a lot of fatty foods. I know he isn’t sucking down a lot of carbohydrates and he eats a lot of protein and drinks down a lot of water. He’s got the protein bars going. It’s almost funny. When somebody brings a pizza into the hotel room when we’re traveling, Khalil’s saying, “No, thank you. It’s not right.”
“I wouldn’t say I’m a fanatic,” Greene says. “I just try and eat healthy.”
As part of his regimen, Greene tries to eat six times daily, and with the Tiger’s hectic game and practice schedule he often has to be creative in slipping in a quick meal.
“In the dining hall the lunch lady cooks these little chicken patties and I just put them in a napkin and take them down to the field and just snack on them,” he says.
And for the rumors that he will sometimes tuck a drumstick under his shirt and has a snack on the field?
“Maybe in the back pocket once in a while,” Greene laughs. “Maybe if we’re not doing something that intense.”
Perhaps Greene’s teammates should follow suit considering his on-field success. After two solid regular season campaigns, Greene has consistently been able to turn up the wick for the post-season, performing spectacularly in last year’s NCAA Tournament and earning All-Tournament Team honors in last week’s ACC Tournament.
“Personally, I like to play in high intensity games. You really don’t have to motivate yourself as much as like, say, a mid-week day game,” he says.
“When you’re playing teams like Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament and tournaments like that it’s a lot easier to focus because it’s already there. You don’t really need to create the big game situation because it’s there in front of you. I just do better when I focus more- that’s when I’m at my peak.”
If the Tigers should find themselves in a tight spot in NCAA Tournament play, Greene only hopes he will get his chance at the plate.
“I expect myself to do well in those types of situations,” he says.
“That’s how you’re going to establish yourself: when you drive in runs in tough situations.”