Carson Puriefoy, the former starting point guard of the Stony Brook men’s basketball team, has signed a one-year contract to play professional basketball for Valmiera ORDO in Latvijas Basketbola Līga (LBL), the top basketball league in Latvia.
After Puriefoy privately worked out throughout the summer with professional aspirations, the signing came about quickly in recent days, before the team officially announced it on Tuesday morning.
“I was actually in talks with a couple teams and then Valmiera approached my agent out of the blue,” Puriefoy said in a phone interview. “It happened pretty quickly. They asked for game tape and they did their due diligence, their research and everything. A couple days later, they contacted my agency with an offer. They’re a great organization, so I jumped at the chance.”
Valmiera won its first ever LBL championship in 2016, defeating VEF Riga, 4-3, in the league’s best-of-7 championship series.
Puriefoy graduated in the spring as the No. 4 all-time scorer in Stony Brook’s Division-I history. During his senior season, Puriefoy averaged 15.1 points per game and recorded 23 points in the America East Finals, helping lead his team to its first-ever NCAA Tournament.
“It’s a surreal feeling,” Puriefoy said. “Just like getting into the NCAA Tournament, it’s something that I’ve been dreaming about since I was a little kid. Everybody that plays basketball wants to be a professional and now that it’s finally here, I can’t really believe it.”
Valmiera plays over 4,300 miles from Puriefoy’s hometown of Wenonah, New Jersey, but the guard is optimistic he will be able to feel at home in Eastern Europe.
“The first couple weeks are doing to be a little different,” Puriefoy said. “I’m going to have to learn and adapt [to the culture].”
Although Latvia is just a small Baltic State — its population of 2 million hardly tops Suffolk County’s 1.5 million citizens— the nation is crazy for basketball. New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porziņģis and former Golden State Warriors center Andris Biedriņš both hail from the country.
“I think it’s going to be amazing,” Puriefoy said. “I think their fans are extremely important to the team. They love basketball out there. I’m definitely excited to get there and get to work.”
Puriefoy departed for his new home on Tuesday evening, flying first to a layover in Frankfurt, Germany, then to Latvia. At the time of his interview with The Statesman, Puriefoy was in the waiting room of John F. Kennedy International Airport.
“Sitting here in the airport, I just left my family,” Puriefoy said. “I’m a little nervous, but I’m definitely excited. I’m just thankful for the opportunity.”