PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — Some of the next potential stars of the NBA are playing right here in Pasco County.

What You Need To Know

  • Tampa Bay Pro Combine taking place at Wiregrass Ranch Sports Complex

  • Dozens of college graduates hooping it up for NBA scouts

  • Event is showing off Pasco County's growing sports scene

  • More Pasco County headlines

The first ever Tampa Bay Pro Combine is happening this week at the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus.

Nearly 50 recent college hoops graduates are hitting the courts to impress scouts ahead of the upcoming NBA draft.

“This ended up being the right space,” said event co-founder Rashaad Ubah. “It’s got eight gyms. What more can you ask for? It’s a mall for basketball.”

This event usually takes place in Virginia, but it was canceled twice because of the pandemic.

Organizers scrambled to find a new location and landed in Pasco County.

“There are some events that usually go on that were cut. This was an event we saw not as a replacement but as an opportunity to do something new in a great city,” Ubah said.

For the Pasco Tourist Development Council, it’s the perfect fit.

The county has branded itself as Florida’s Sports Coast in recent years, using facilities like the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus to host events. The campus includes an arena with eight basketball courts, usually used for youth sports.

The council spent $50,000 to bring the combine here, to help market Pasco’s growing sports scene.

Council Chairman and County Commissioner Mike Moore gave the tip off at Friday morning’s first game, welcoming the players to Pasco.

“They’re staying in our hotels. They’re supporting our small businesses, whether it be a retailer or a restaurant. Or even buying fuel. All citizens benefit when these events are going on,” Moore said in an interview.

The hope is this will be a long term investment, to make the Tampa Bay Pro Combine a yearly stop on the way to the NBA draft.

“It’s a national event but in a local community. And our goal is to grow it,” Ubah said.

The event started Thursday and wraps up on Saturday. Prospects play in different types of games, drills and contests.

The plan is for next year’s combine to be even bigger.