Troy Barnies and his wife have left the country for the safety of Norway. Credit: Courtesy of Windrose Ukrainian Superleague via WGME

A Mainer who plays pro-basketball in Ukraine has now left the country following Russia’s military invasion.

Ten days ago, Troy Barnies was still trying to wait out the escalating crisis, but over the weekend, he said he and his wife decided to leave the country for the safety of Norway.

In just the last few days, out of his five teammates who are not from Ukraine, four have left the country and the remaining teammate, another American, was planning to be on a flight out of Ukraine on Thursday.

Barnies said his teammates have shown him a lot of respect for choosing to stay as long as he did, and when he and his wife made the decision to leave, it happened very fast, but given Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Barnies said he made the right decision.

“It’s always just what if, so, like when I decided to stay and stuff that’s what I had said, but now with a situation where it’s like OK, yes, I made the right call, thankfully, and I got out just at the right time, but it’s hard to wrap your head around that you make the right decision when this is happening,” Barnies said.

He said it’s hard to wrap his head around such a fast turnaround.

He said everything happened so fast that he didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to his teammates.

Barnies said his family is first. As for what basketball will look like for him next, he said it’s a toss-up.

“I need to make a decision as well because if I don’t go back to Ukraine, my full-time job is to play basketball and it’s my full-time job, so I need to get another job, so in a different country and continue to finish the season somewhere else. So, we need to make those plans. I haven’t really thought about it much, especially with how drastic things change overnight. Literally,” Barnies said.

Barnies is waiting to hear from his agent about what’s going on. Since the situation has gotten so extreme, he doesn’t know if he’ll go back to Ukraine. Realistically, he said it doesn’t look very good, especially if they postpone or even cancel the league.

Barnies was a former Edward Little High School and University of Maine basketball star. He is in his 11th year playing professional basketball overseas.