Jabair Khan remains patient at plate.
In his first year as a co-captain for the Owls, senior outfielder Jabair Khan has not had the start to the 2012 season that he wanted offensively.
Khan, a native of West Chester, Pa., is currently batting .252 with eight doubles and 10 RBIs. With a slow start at the plate, Khan has boosted the Owls with strong defense in the outfield.
“This year has definitely been my best defensive year,” Khan said. “The offense will come, but defense is something you can control on your own with hard work.”
For Khan, coming to Temple was an easy choice because it was a great opportunity and was close to home.
“I knew a few guys on the team and I wanted to be in Philadelphia,” Khan said. “I really enjoy being here.”
Not only was Khan recruited by former Temple baseball coach Rob Valli, but he was also recruited by current first year coach Ryan Wheeler in 2008. At the time, Wheeler recruited Khan to join Richmond University.
“I wanted to go to a larger school and Richmond was a smaller school,” Khan said.
Just like many of his other teammates, Khan has a few superstitions when it comes to the game of baseball.
“When I am hitting well, I will usually let the beard go,” Khan said. “I also always use a batting sleeve. When I am hitting well, I won’t change that arm sleeve unless I get cold at the plate.”
Ever since Khan joined the Owls in 2009, senior infielder and pitcher Steve Nikorak has spent the past four years on the baseball team beside Khan.
“[Khan] and I have been very great friends,” Nikorak said. “We have worked out together and hung out together.”
Nikorak describes Khan as a strong leader, who inspires those around him to get better and work harder.
“He is a fireball who brings a spark to the rest of the team,” Nikorak added.
“[Khan] is an easy kind of leader who guys can easily relate to,” Wheeler said. “While other guys can get emotional, [Khan] keeps an even keel and leads by example that way.”
In regards to Khan, Wheeler said he is not worried at all.
“He has had a slow start but he is starting to come on and beginning to break out for us offensively,” Wheeler said.
“[Khan] has had a great year defensively,” Wheeler added. “In baseball, it all evens out eventually.”
Wheeler describes Khan as not much of a confrontational leader. “He talks to players on the side and behind the scenes,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler defines Khan as a top leader and a player he can trust on the field.
“[Khan] never does the wrong thing in any situation,” Wheeler said.
For the rest of the season, Khan hopes to go to the Atlantic Ten Conference championship game and win the tournament for the Owls. Along with keeping up his strong defense he has provided this season, Khan hopes to continue to find his bat.
“His offense is improving and is sparking the rest of the team,” Wheeler said.
John Murrow can be reached at email@example.com.