Thursday morning, Troy Barnies will travel to Boston in order to hop on a plane to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, then on another plane to Russia before his final destination of Latvia. 

Barnies will soon be suiting up for BK Liepāja, a team in the Latvian Basketball League, for his eighth pro basketball season. 

While the former Edward Little High School and University of Maine basketball star is 100% healthy, there were plenty of uncertain moments that Barnies experienced the last year and a half between teams — a time in which he has rehabbed a knee cartilage injury. 

“I had doubts,” Barnies said. “I was frustrated a lot of the time but I didn’t lose interest, and just to have this opportunity is huge for me. I know a lot of guys that have surgery and just getting back into it is almost impossible if you’re not taking it seriously like a full-time job. It’s stressful, but I’m determined to get back. I feel great and still in my prime.”

Barnies has spent most of the last 18 months in Maine, rehabbing his injury and getting back to full strength. The 30-year-old had a knee cartilage issue that created intense pain. He opted for surgery so that he could come back and play again. 

“A lot of teams were interested, but the problem was most guys sit out that long and then retire,” Barnies said. “I had to better myself to extend my career. I wanted to not have to worry about not being 100% and have my knee not all better. That gave me a little extra time to decide what I wanted to do.”

Barnies played in Latvia in two of his seven previous seasons, and to him that’s a huge advantage. 

“I played against this team quite a bit,” Barnies said. “They’re solid and they know who I am. They wanted to give me a shot and I am looking forward to getting stats, video, and to show everyone that I’m still here.”

BK Liepāja has already played six games, forcing Barnies to prepare for a quick turnaround, with the first game he could play in being on Sunday. 

They need help scoring and on offense (in general),” Barnies said. “I’ve done a little research and I think there is another American who is pretty young. I am experienced and I have been through all kinds of leagues, and they have given me a shot to help with scoring and get more wins. This is a great opportunity. … This is the first time in my career I have joined a team in the season. This is a change of pace and I needed to be ready to go.”

Barnies wouldn’t have taken the contract offer if he wasn’t fully confident in his body. He’s also had some help during his prolonged offseason. 

“I needed to invest in getting surgery to get better, but it just took longer to heal,” Barnies said. “I have been working with Prime 360, with BJ Grondin and Robbie Porter for the last six months. It’s all strength and conditioning and working on every part of my leg to get my knee back in shape. I made sure I was ready to go. I don’t want the team to invest in me and me not be ready. That’s unprofessional to me.”

After settling into life in Latvia, Barnies and his newly-married wife, Sandra, who lives in Norway, will be able to be much closer together. 

“She’s sacrificed a lot for me and I’ve tried to do my best, and she knows how much this means to me,” Barnies said. “We are ready.”

Former Edward Little High School star and professional basketball player Troy Barnies at Gully Basketball Courts in Auburn in August 2018. Barnies has signed with a professional team in Latvia and will be starting his eighth season of his professional career. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal


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