WESLEY CHAPEL — Darryl Hepburn is sitting back still amazed at what he and others were able to pull off in just a couple of months.
They brought a NBA draft combine to Pasco County.
“To have everybody here during a pandemic right now, the games are going on. It’s just very gratifying," said Hepburn, one of the organizers of the Tampa Bay Pro Combine.
Cancellations of events elsewhere helped make this possible.
And the new Wiregrass Ranch Sports Complex in Wesley Chapel has the courts and space they needed.
All these guys are 2021 eligible draft prospects. The event is an opportunity for them to gain exposure. An opportunity for these guys to display themselves in front of scouts," said event organizer Rashaad Ubah
“It’s perfect to grow in a place that’s growing. This place is growing. Five years from now this place will look completely different. Right now it looks great. The guys love it here. Everybody wants to come to Florida. To the Bay Area," said Hepburn.
Pasco County branded itself as Florida’s Sports Coast and is continuing to bring in youth sports events and the thousands of visitors that come with them.
County leaders say this combine is another step forward.
“You’ve got players coming in not only from all over the country but all over the world that are here in Pasco County now. And what happens when they come to Pasco County? They are staying in our hotels. They are at our restaurants. They are supporting our small businesses. It’s a benefit for all the citizens here," said County Commissioner Mike Moore.
The Wiregrass Ranch Sports Complex is also hosting about 600 teams from USA volleyball this weekend.
“We are not only doing regional, but we are doing national. And once the borders of international start opening up for travel, we will start welcoming those teams back into Pasco County," said Director of Tourism for Florida's Sports Coast Adam Thomas.
Organizers hope to get this combine sanctioned by the NBA and make it a yearly event.