Santa Clara guard Kevin Foster is so well respected in the West Coast Conference that he was selected to the preseason all-conference team despite playing in only six games last season before going down with a season-ending foot injury.
The sophomore averaged 19.8 points in those games and two seasons ago led all WCC freshmen averaging 14.7 points, but the number that concerns him now more than any other is 220.
That's because Broncos coach Kerry Keating is insisting that if Foster weighs any more than that number of pounds, the otherwise healthy star scorer will not be allowed to take the court.
"I'm not going to let him play," Keating said. "He got held out of practice the other day, came in at 221."
Concerned that weight issues were a factor in Foster fracturing his right foot and that bad eating habits could affect him later in life, Keating took a stand.
The result? Foster has lost about 30 pounds since June, with his family throwing its support behind the Keating plan to get him in better shape.
"I didn't want the same injury to happen again," Foster said. "I did it for myself, and after basketball's over, I have to have good habits."
Foster has worked with a nutritionist and for a time even went on the so-called caveman diet where he avoided processed foods.
"I care about him, and I want to motivate him," Keating said. "This is not about the next three years so much as it is about the next 30. You got to make guys understand how important this is for the rest of their lives.
"Hopefully the discipline carries over to his play as well."
Foster fractured his fifth metatarsal in December, which required surgery and wrecked Santa Clara's chances in the WCC, but this year's team has been picked to finish fourth in the league despite an 11-20 2009-10 season.
With Foster recovered from surgery and receiving a medical redshirt, the Broncos have a player who can score in bunches and team up with emerging point guard Robert Smith.
And for opponents who might be wondering, Foster tipped the scales today at 214, well below the weight Keating wants him to avoid.
"I’ve been focusing on dropping weight," Foster said. "The foot’s healed. I’m just ready to play now."