Former Pitt star Troutman continues his basketball journey

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The crowd at Greentree SportsPlex is a little different than what Chevon Troutman has gotten used to in the past decade. He's playing in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Pro-Am, where spectators sit close to the court and children come up to players after games for autographs.

It's calm and relaxed, nothing like the crowds the former Pitt star has witnessed in an international career that has taken him to several countries over the past nine years.

In some places, the visiting team's fans aren't permitted to attend. The risk of brawls are too high.

"The worst places are Serbia, maybe Italy, Greece and Turkey," Troutman said Monday at Greentree SportsPlex. "They have pretty rough fans, where you'd better come with your armor on because you could be fighting after. It's pretty intense.

"I had a couple incidents where I had to fight my way off the court.

"Not a lot, because as long as you conduct yourself correctly and don't interact with the fans, even if they spit on you and give you the finger ... but you just can't react because they can cause you harm after or find you in some kind of way."

Troutman was no slouch at Pitt -- he holds the school record in field-goal percentage (.625) and participated in a school-record 108 victories from 2001-05 -- but American professional opportunities didn't materialize.

So, he went overseas, starting his international career almost by accident. Troutman played in the Dominican Republic as a favor to a friend the summer after he graduated from Pitt, thinking it was casual summer basketball. The league turned out to be a professional one.

The next stop was a second-tier league in Italy for a year, which led to the top league in France, where he played for three seasons. In 2009, Troutman went back to Italy, but in the top league. He was there for two years before signing with his current German team, Bayern Monaco, a team based in Munich that plays in the top German League.

Like many American players who go overseas, Troutman wasn't entirely aware of what he was getting into.

He had to learn through experience, whether it was about the crowds or referees, who will often favor domestic players and will penalize guys who seem more athletic.

It was incredibly different than Pittsburgh, but for Troutman, that wasn't a bad thing.

"I basically did it my way. I wasn't told what to do, and I've enjoyed the years that I've played," he said. "No bad years yet, knock on wood, so I've been fortunate, you know?"

Troutman is 31, but has continued to be one of the best players in every league he has played in, as he has been named an All-Star nearly every year. He has had opportunities to come back and play in America. The NBA Developmental League came calling, but it was too late for Troutman.

"The D-League really isn't enough money for me and the incentives for me to be there aren't there," he said. "I have a family and I'm trying to stay afloat. The financial part is better for me to be overseas."

He declined to discuss his salary, but the top-tier European players routinely reel in tax-free, six-figure salaries and get apartments, cars, and cell phones for free. It's not a bad life, especially considering the best players in the NBA D-League make around $25,000 a year.

Troutman has a son who lives in the Pittsburgh area. Pittsburgh is still home and is where he will end up after his playing career ends. He should be back with Bayern Monaco this year, but if that doesn't work out Troutman will play elsewhere, off on another journey.

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Everett Cook: and Twitter @everettcook.


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