LA JOLLA, Calif. - Former University of California San Diego basketball star Adam Klie will continue his professional career after signing a contract to play for the GIESSEN 46ers in Germany. The team made the announcement Tuesday.
Klie, who flew to Germany Wednesday, will join GIESSEN's ProB team.
Klie recently completed his first year in pro ball with the Niagara River Lions of the National Basketball League of Canada. As a rookie in 2017-18, the 6-4 guard averaged 6.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 20 minutes per game. He was one of just two players to see action in all 44 of the team's games. The River Lions posted an 18-26 record.
A 2017 graduate of UC San Diego, Klie was the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Player of the Year and a consensus first team all-region selection as a senior. He was a three-time all-conference performer as well as the 2014 CCAA Freshman of the Year. Klie left the school as its Division II leader in career points, rebounds, field goals made, field goals attempted, free throws attempted, games played, and minutes played. He was just the second Triton in the program's DII era (since 2000-01) to record 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career.
In the classroom, Klie held a 4.0 GPA as a Bioengineering major at Revelle College. The Anchorage, Alaska, product earned a litany of academic accolades including CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year, CCAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and D2CCA Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He was also an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winner as a senior.
In 2017-18, GIESSEN's ProB team compiled an impressive 16-6 record over the regular season and went 3-2 in the playoffs. Located in Giessen, a city of 86,000 in the state of Hesse, the 46ers play in the Sporthalle Giessen-Ost (capacity 4,303).
Germany's ProB league consists of 24 teams split between the North Division and the South Division. The top eight teams from each division at the end of the regular season qualify for the playoffs.
The GIESSEN 46ers also have a team that competes in the Bundesliga, the highest level of club basketball in Germany.
GIESSEN begins its 2018-19 ProB campaign on Sept. 22 against the Schwenningen Panthers. The regular season runs until late February.
We spoke with Adam the day he signed with GIESSEN.
You leave for Germany tomorrow. Thoughts?
My plan is to get over there and let it all hang loose. I want to win as a team, first and foremost, but I also want to see myself playing my best basketball. I'm really amped and excited to get out there and let it rip. It's going to be a fast-paced learning period, but I'm excited to hit the ground running.
What did you learn while playing in Canada this past season?
Coming in as a rookie, you have expectations. You're "the guy" on your team in college and you feel like you're ready to play that role in the pros. Sometimes, that can hit you and you realize you need to get a lot better, you need to learn a lot more. I think that was kind of the case for me. I was playing against guys who were very talented, very athletic, and I learned a lot from that. I think having that year under my belt to get a feel for the talent level in professional basketball is going to give me a big leg up this year.
What are the major differences between the college game and the pro game?
In college, we know our spots, we know we're going to get our shots. We move the ball and it's very team-oriented. Professional basketball is a lot more free-flowing. You need to score when you get the ball in your hands. There's a lot of pressure to make a play and score, where in college I had a little more time to pick my spots. Quick decision making and learning how to make shots in a lot of different ways, especially when you're playing against big, athletic guys, was one of the biggest adjustments for me in Canada.
How do you think playing professionally in Germany will differ from playing professionally in Canada?
In Canada, it was pretty much all Canadians and players from the United States. It's going to be very different playing internationally and playing European-style basketball. They play with a different ball, there's a lot of differences in style of play. At the end of the day, it's going to be high level. I'll be playing against guys that are competing for a paycheck and want to move up just as badly as I do.
The team is allowed just one North American import per season. How special is it that you are that player?
It's definitely pretty cool, I'm really excited to be that person. With 24 teams in the league, I'm one of 24 players that were chosen. It shows that they have a lot of confidence in me.
What have you been working on during the off-season?
I've been focusing on mitigating some of my weaknesses I had in Canada. I'm going to use that work and that knowledge to take my game forward and have a better year. At the beginning of the season, I was struggling shooting the ball, so it's been a big point of emphasis to make sure that I'm feeling the flow of my shots and getting them honed in so I can knock them down when I have the opportunity.
Have you spent much time in Europe?
I lived in Moscow, Russia, for three years when I was 10 years old and we traveled around Europe a bit. We never actually stayed in Germany, but we went through Munich a few times and I'm familiar with the Frankfurt airport. My plan is to start learning the language as soon as I possibly can. It's a chance to see another part of the world, learn a new culture, and meet some new people along the way. Those are the things, aside from basketball, that will make this experience exciting.