Former Edward Little High School star and professional basketball player Troy Barnies dribbles a basketball at Gully Basketball Courts in Auburn last August. Barnies is back on the court after sitting out the season while rehabbing from knee surgery. (Sun Journal file photo)

Troy Barnies’ long road back to Europe started in Rumford over the weekend.

“I need to play,” he said.

The former Edward Little and University of Maine star did that for the first time in 10 months in the Mountain Valley Rec Basketball League’s tournament over the weekend. He played so well in the three-day, six-game tournament that he led his team to the championship and earned the MVP .

“I was craving hoops, just wasn’t sure if I was ready,” he posted on his Twitter account early Sunday night. “Side note: I was more than ready.”

Aside from a few pickup games at Central Maine Community College, it was the first basketball action for the seven-year veteran of international basketball since undergoing surgery on his left knee late last spring.

“It’s the longest time in my basketball career that I have not played basketball, like games or tournaments,” he said. “It’s crazy to me. It was nine months for me away from the game, and I was dying.”


Barnies admitted to being frustrated by a “super-slow” rehab, coming back from a procedure known as mosaicplasty to repair cartilage defects in the knee that had been giving him problems in recent years.

“There haven’t been any setbacks. It’s just taking longer,” he said.

“When I had my surgery, I was told it was supposed to be around four to six months, but it can go up to eight to 12,” he said. “I’ve been doing everything possible and I guess it’s just really being slow.”

Barnies, 30, said he decided to sit out the rest of this season “a couple of months ago” and focus on getting ready for next season. He thinks it may be the best move for the long term.

“To extend my career, I decided it’s best to focus on rehabbing for the full year and then just coming back next season,” he said.

The 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward said he fielded inquiries from teams during the winter but most needed him immediately.


“It was best for me not to join a team and not perform at the level I need to and hurt my resume and the way some teams look at me as a player,” Barnies said. “Me and my agent thought it would be best to focus on coming back next season.”

To that end, he plans to play a lot over the next few months in hopes of being back to full strength by the end of July.

“I’m going to play in a bunch of tournaments this summer,” he said.

The pickup games at CMCC were a good start, he said. During the next few months, Barnies hopes to get back the explosion basketball fans in Maine knew him for during his high school and college career.

Barnies spent most of his rehab in Norway (the country) with his fiancee, Sandra Steffensen, before his tourist visa ran out. The couple is engaged to be married this summer, right around the time he expects to start negotiating with teams again.

“The market opens for players in the summer and my agent will be talking to a bunch of teams knowing that I will be ready to go,” he said.


Barnies signed with a new agent this year, Pat Calathes, who played basketball professionally in Greece, Israel and Italy before retiring in 2017. Calathes also represents former Deering High School star Nik Caner-Medley, who now plays professionally in Spain. He expects the agent’s connections will give him plenty of options when he starts sending out game film.

If all goes well, he should be ready to sign with a team in August. Barnies, who has played in Hungary, Finland and Turkey, said he isn’t leaning toward playing in any particular country right now.

For now, Rumford is good enough.

“I felt pretty good,” he said. “I’m just out of basketball shape.”

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