A self-described nerd, Klie is Academic All-America of the Year
This year, though, he’s forged his own trail.
Klie, of Service High fame, won CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year honors to highlight his second straight appearance on the Academic All-America First Team.
“My dad was a D2 Academic All-American his senior year so I like to joke with him that I beat him since I got it twice,” he told me. “My parents are both been super supportive of me over the years so they are definitely very proud.”
A senior bioengineering major with a 4.0 GPA, Klie is a self-described nerd – yeah, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound bookworm with a killer post game.
“I think being the complete student-athlete is a little cooler nowadays,” he said. “People who are well rounded tend to have an upper hand when entering the professional world and that is starting to trickle down to college and high school a bit. Still, I consider myself to be a pretty big nerd, but I’ve always liked that about myself.”
Klie is UC San Diego’s second ever Academic All-America of the Year honoree.
“I think my teammates understand what it means. But even if it was just purely from on the court performance it wouldn’t be that big a deal for us as a team,” he said. “We are pretty focused on our team goals at this point and we can take time congratulate individual achievements later on. I think that’s how most of the guys feel about stuff like this.”
Klie was also just named California Collegiate Athletic Association Player of the Year this week.
He leads UC San Diego in scoring [14.9], rebounding [6.4], assists [4.5], steals [0.8] and field goal percentage [.495]. He has scored at least 10 points in 23 of 28 games played, including a career-high 29 in a CCAA Tournament win against Humboldt State last weekend.
This season, Klie became the school’s career leader in points, rebounds and field goals made in the NCAA D2 era. He’s the first Triton to garner CCAA Player of the Year accolades. Now a three-time all-conference pick, he was the CCAA Freshman of the Year in 2014.
“Maybe I would be an All-American for just basketball if I got a couple more Ds and Cs,” Klie said with a laugh. “But it’s just part of who I am. When I do something, I want to give my best effort, especially when it’s something important to me.
“There are times where the grind kinda gets overwhelming, but those are some of the best times to just push through. Sometimes I do give myself some breaks to kind of recharge a bit. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t play Xbox every once in a while.”