AUBURN – With the stroke of a pen, Troy Barnies made it official Wednesday, signing an NCAA National Letter of Intent to attend and play basketball for the University of Maine.

For a moment, though, as the Barnies family gathered around a table in the Edward Little High School library for the signing ceremony, Troy’s mother, Lorie, may have wondered if she was the highly-coveted recruit.

“How come I have to sign more than you?” she asked her son.

The question brought a laugh from her husband, Stanely, Troy’s twin brother Travis, Edward Little basketball coach Mike Adams and more than a dozen of Barnies’ friends and teammates who watched the 6-foot-7 senior officially commit to Maine on the first day of the national signing period.

Barnies, who verbally committed to the university in early August, said he was relieved that the day to put it in ink had finally come.

“I’ve been waiting for a long time,” said Barnies, who along with his parents was decked out in the appropriate blue-and-white garb of the Orono school. “I’ve been anxious for a while lately. I just kind of wanted to sign it already because I was anxious about becoming a Maine Black Bear.”

Barnies and his mother signed the letter of intent along with some financial aid documents, which were to be promptly shipped to Orono via Federal Express yesterday. Barnies then called Maine head coach Ted Woodward to let him know the papers were on the way.

“I feel real comfortable up there. I feel wanted,” he said. “Coach Woodward and all of his assistant coaches have really made me feel comfortable around them.”

With his athleticism and size, Barnies projects as a wing player, most likely a small forward, at the college level, but Woodward didn’t want to pin on a position on him, yet.

“Travis is a very versatile player,” he said. “He obviously has great size and has the ability to score inside. He’s quick off the dribble. He’s going to continue to get stronger. I think he does a lot of things well.”

Barnies was one of two early signings announced by Woodward yesterday. The other was 6-foot-7 Gardiner center Sean McNally, who will be an on-court rival of Barnies this year in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference.

“It’s exciting,” Woodward said. “They’re both extremely proud to be from Maine and putting on the Maine uniform, and we’re obviously thrilled to have them in that position.”

Barnies said he hopes to contribute right away to the Black Bears but knows he has a lot of work to do.

“I know I need to become a lot stronger, so I’ve been weightlifting a lot with coach Adams,” said Barnies, who has improved his bench press to 240 pounds. “A lot of my teammates have been practicing with me, working on things I need to work on.”

“On a Friday or Saturday night, when who knows where a lot of other high school seniors are, Troy will be in here lifting,” Adams said. “We went up to the Blue-White scrimmage (at Maine) a couple of weeks ago, and it stands out to you, the athleticism and the strength that the Division I athlete has. I think that’s opened Troy’s eyes even more to dedicating himself to working harder now.”

Barnies’ parents said they were thrilled when Troy told them last summer he wanted to attend the state university. They plan to travel to all of his games in Orono and many on the road and hope the members of the community who played a big role in Troy’s development will join them.

“The Auburn education department and the athletic department have gotten my son where he is,” Stanley Barnies said, citing Adams and Randy Demers as two of his son’s greatest coaching influences. “All the coaches saw something in him and brought it out. His teachers brought it out.”

“Troy’s dedication got him where he is as well,” Lorie Barnies added. “He made the decision (that he wanted to play D-I basketball) himself. In the second grade, he discovered that he hadn’t missed a day of school, so ever since then, he’s put his wholehearted effort into everything he’s done. That’s just Troy.”

Now Barnies, who played quarterback on the varsity football team this fall, can concentrate on his final season of high school basketball. Practice begins in 11 days.

As a junior, he was named the KVAC South player of the year and selected to the Sun Journal All-Region team after averaging 22.6 points and 11.3 rebounds while leading EL to a 14-4 record.

“The main goal right now is to win the state championship in high school,” he said. “I still have one year of high school left…and I’d like to finish it off on a good note.”

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