Basketball brings people together, and it’s no different for Lorain coach Matt Kielian and his two sons.
Matt’s oldest son, Asiah, is a senior who has played a lot of games for Lorain. His youngest son, Aven, is a junior about to immerse himself into varsity basketball for the first time. This season will be the first and only season the two brothers will get to play on the varsity for their father. But they have been — and will be — together for much longer than that.
“Not too many people can say that they’ve been in a situation like this coaching both of their sons,” Matt Kielian said. “There’s a lot of pressure, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves and in each other. But there’s time where I’m going to need take a step back and enjoy the moment. I know how hard those young men work, I know the countless hours that they’ve put in.”
Having their dad as a coach, Asiah and Aven have spent plenty of time in the gym. They’re both very competitive, Matt said. The one-on-one battles between the two could go down as legend. Both brothers know each other’s strengths and weaknesses down to a T.
It’s difficult for Matt to be too hard on his sons sometimes because he knows they’re just like him. He has expectations on and off the court for them. But their different personalities combine to show the two sides of their dad. Asiah is more reserved while Aven is more outgoing. The two teenagers now get to put it all together to help Lorain be a good team again this season.
“It feels great,” Asiah said. “Not everyone gets to say that they play with their younger brother or sibling. Not a lot of people even get to say that they play for their father as a coach. This is something that I’ve been looking forward to since I was younger. He’s been looking forward to it since he was younger. We’ve just all had dreams and aspirations to get here.”
Like any set of brothers, Asiah and Aven don’t always see eye-to-eye. Their competitive drive has willed them to this moment. Not only do the Kielians get to play together, but they’re both going to start this season. Asiah has already been entrenched in this program as a starter. Aven will get his shot to prove that he belongs.
“It’s been a lot of time in the gym. A lot of blood, a lot of tears,” Aven said. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time and I think that I can finally express the way that I’ve been working for it.”
Like any family, there are fights. Not only do the brothers challenge each other, but the entire team gets the best out of each other. Asked what Lorain needs to do to be successful this season, Matt said that the players need to stick together.
It’s a lot easier to have that family feel when there’s a father and his two sons, but the rest of the team is part of that. The Titans have taken that approach seriously.
“My dad has always preached that the ball is going to stop one day, and we just really need the people close to us to stay with us for the long run,” Aven said. “Basketball is just a game, and in this thing called life, we just have to have each other’s backs for real.”
All offseason, Lorain has worked on chemistry after losing four seniors. Asiah and Aven have probably put more work in together more than any other two players in the area. Some could even say they were both born with basketballs in their hands.
Through the ups and the downs, the Kielians have this special season together. A lot of work has been put into this moment and they’re hoping it shows.
“They’re best friends. They’re not just brothers, they’re best friends,” Matt said. “They have their ups and downs and their moments, but at the same time, they’re inseparable.”