LA JOLLA, Calif. - Former University of California San Diego basketball star Adam Klie has signed a contract to play professionally for the Niagara River Lions of the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC). The announcement was made Monday by the organization.
"I'm super excited to be joining the NBL Canada this upcoming season," said Klie, who graduated from UC San Diego in 2017. "At the end of this past season at UCSD, I felt like basketball still had something to give me and getting a chance to play professionally is a dream come true. It's an exciting league and definitely a challenge that I'm looking forward to."
The NBLC is a 10-team league comprised of two divisions - the Atlantic and the Central. Over the 2016-17 season, Niagara went 14-26 overall, all of those games coming as Central Division match-ups. The River Lions, whose inaugural season in NBL Canada was 2015-16, play out of the Meridian Centre in downtown St. Catharines, Ontario.
"I'll be a rookie in the league and to professional basketball in general, so I'm just trying to go up there and help my team win in any way possible," added Klie. "I know I have a lot to learn, but I also know I will be given plenty of opportunities to prove myself. I just want to try and take advantage of every opportunity and see if we can make this year a special one for this team."
"First impressions are everlasting and Adam left a definite positive impression," said Niagara head coach Joe Raso. "His skill, his feel, and his work ethic were all on display. I knew he was a trained, motivated player who will make coaching enjoyable. We are lucky to have recruited a first-class citizen to our community."
Klie left UC San Diego as the program's Division II career leader in points (1,524), rebounds (625), field goals made (561), field goals attempted (1,084), free throw attempts (527), games played (118), and minutes played (3,510). He is only the second Triton to amass 1,000 points and 500 rebounds during a career since UC San Diego moved to NCAA Division II status for the 2000-01 season.
A 6-foot-4 guard, Klie was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Player of the Year following an outstanding senior season in which he averaged 15.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.7 assists - all team-bests. He was a consensus All-West Region First Team pick, helping lead the Tritons to their first-ever CCAA regular season title and second conference tournament crown. The team also advanced to the NCAA West Region championship game for the second-consecutive year.
The Anchorage, Alaska, product excelled academically as well, graduating with a 4.0 grade point average as a Bioengineering major. Klie was a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team selection and was honored as the 2017 Academic All-America of the Year for Division II men's basketball. In addition, he was tabbed the CCAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the D2 Conference Commissioner's Association (CCA) Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
"Congratulations to Adam on signing with Niagara," said UC San Diego head coach Eric Olen. "Coaching him has been a privilege and I'm excited to watch as he takes the next step in his basketball career. The River Lions are getting a tremendous player and an even better person."
The NBLC schedule runs from November through April. Niagara's 2017-18 schedule is yet to be announced.