Fin(n)al season

Finn Klein ’22 brings school it’s first Ann Arbor athlete of the week award


Photo Courtesy of James Schapiro

ATTACKING THE RIM Finn Klein ’22 drives to the rim for a bucket. “My ability to attack the rim has developed from my freshman year as I’ve gotten more experience and stronger,” Klein said.

Pranay Shah '23, Sports Editor

More than 80,000 votes were cast for the January 15th Ann Arbor Athlete of the Week award. When all was said and done, Finn Klein ‘22 blew the rest of the 12 candidates away and brought the first Ann Arbor athlete of the week award to the school with 10,000 more votes than the runner-up.

The candidates were nominated by coaches in Washtenaw county.

The award is the result of his hard work and passion for the game, said brother and former teammate Owen Klein ‘20.

“Finn has always put in the work on and off the court, outworking his opponents and teammates to be the best. He is one of the most competitive people I have ever met,” said Owen Klein.

Since a young age, Klein has never backed down from his opponents, said former teammate Gabe Seir ‘20. He was always confident in his abilities and did not let his age or size affect his game.

“I first met Finn when he was a fourth-grader, and even then he was great at basketball, small and shifty. [He] could even play with us older kids and even [started] trash-talking us,” said Seir.

Klein’s talent proved to be more than enough as he made the varsity basketball team as a freshman. At the time, he had to face the adversity of being a smaller player on the team.

“No matter how good you are at a particular sport, it’s a different world competing against 18-year-olds as a 9th grader, so when a 9th grader makes varsity, the physical gap is so huge,” said Coach Tom Ward. 

However, Klein handled this challenge with his good work ethic and rose to another challenge later in the season.

“[Klein] did a great job of working hard in practice, waiting for his chance in games, and when the time came he was ready for it,” said Ward. “An injury happened to our starting point guard, and then he got to jump in and play a larger role.”

During that freshman year, Klein was also surrounded by a large senior class. He attributes his growth and ability to adapt to the varsity level to their influence.

“My coaches and teammates welcomed me as soon as I joined the program as a freshman, I fed off their support,” said Klein. “They were a talented group of guys who taught me many lessons which I try to give back to the younger guys today.”

The large graduating class left Klein as one of the few former varsity players for his sophomore season. His classmates, teammates, and coaches expected a lot of him after his debut season.

“Suddenly he’s a second-year varsity guy, but still a sophomore. That year, he learned how to not just be a good player, but to deal with those expectations,” said Ward.

Klein was the star player on a team that struggled to find ways to win. The team only boasted three wins in his sophomore season, compared to the eighteen the year before.

“He was forced to be the go-to guy early in his career, as he was the best player on the team,” said Owen Klein.

This burden as an important player led Klein to put too much pressure on himself. 

“He is an amazing player, but he could have relied on the team more,” said Seir. “I should have voiced that to him as a captain.”

Klein has learned from his past seasons, as he leads the team in points and assists during his senior season.

“[He’s] been trying to figure out how he can be a great ballplayer in scoring or not having to lead the team in scoring,” said Ward. “There’s been a lot of games this year where Finn might have only scored four points in the first half but twenty in the second, so he’s kind of figured out the time to turn it on.”

He has developed as a role model for the underclassmen.

“He sets an example by working hard every day and has matured a lot as a player since I joined the team,” said Sam Dorfman ‘23. 

Klein has had a journey to the current season. The Ann Arbor Athlete of the Week award was a testament to his hard work and growth over the years, friends and teammates said.

“I’ve seen his basketball IQ grow over the years and also his work ethic, he has put in the work in the weight room to become the player he is today,” said Owen Klein.