Over the years, the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament has given thousands of NBA hopefuls an opportunity to showcase their game in front of executives from all 30 teams. The event has featured NBA legends such as John Stockton, Scottie Pippen, Tim Hardaway, Dennis Rodman, Rick Barry and Earl "The Pearl” Monroe. In recent years, notable players such as Jimmy Butler, Jeremy Lin, DeMarre Carroll, J.J. Barea, Richaun Holmes and Derrick White have participated.
Well, for the second year in a row, the Portsmouth Invitational has been canceled.
Enter the Tampa Bay Pro Combine (TBPC).
The TBPC is a new pre-draft event that will be held on June 3-5 at the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Like the Portsmouth Invitational, this combine will showcase top draft prospects from around the nation who are looking to prove themselves in front of pro-basketball decision-makers. The TBPC is expected to include more than 60 draft-eligible players. This three-day event will feature drills, games (5-on-5, 2-on-2 and 3-on-3), athletic testing and measurements.
Darryl Hepburn, who played professionally overseas, co-founded the TBPC with Rashaad Ubah. Hepburn says he created this event because he’s from the Tampa area and wishes something like this had existed when he was a prospect.
“I was once a standout player that was overlooked in Hillsborough County high-school athletics in which I lacked resources and exposure to be seen by top Division 1 colleges,” Hepburn told BasketballNews.com. “One of many goals in establishing the Tampa Bay Pro Combine is to create an avenue to build exposure for high-school basketball programs in Tampa and the surrounding areas. As the event grows each year, so will the opportunities to give back to countless athletes around the nation."
The prospects will be chosen by a player-selection committee that consists of:
- Matt Babcock, BasketballNews.com NBA Draft analyst and former NBA agent
- Fran Fraschilla, ESPN analyst and former NCAA head coach
- Doc Martin, former NBA scout and NBA coach who played at Alabama
- Jason Filippi, Director of International Scouting at Pro Insight, former NBA scout
- Matt McKay Jr., the CEO and founder of Pro Insight, former NBA scout
Babcock and Fraschilla are co-chairs of the committee, while also serving as senior advisors.
“I’ve been around basketball for 40 years and seen many, many basketball dreams come to fruition in the NBA,” Fraschilla told BasketballNews.com. “I’ve coached 18 of those guys and covered another couple of hundred more during my broadcasting career. The Tampa Bay Pro Combine is about creating opportunities for young players to showcase their talent and pursue their professional opportunities.”
“For me, personally, the combination of currently working as an NBA Draft analyst and previously representing players as an agent has given me an appreciation for new opportunities for teams, scouts and media members to gather information and also for players to gain more exposure to show off their talent as they look to start their professional careers,” Babcock added. “I see the Tampa Bay Pro Combine as a platform for both of those things. Tampa is a beautiful city and there are a lot of good people behind this event.”
The event will be hosted at the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus, which is a 98,000 square-foot venue with eight courts. The facility is located 30 minutes from downtown Tampa, where the Toronto Raptors are currently playing their home games.
According to the organizers, the TBPC will be streaming this event in order to provide maximum exposure for the prospects. They are also weighing domestic broadcast options. BasketballNews.com will be covering the event as a media partner.
Here is the schedule for the three-day event:
BAM (Basic Athletic Measurement) Testing
Yo Murphy Performance Testing
Skills Work and Drills
Completion of Round-Robin Tournament
“This is going to be a great addition to the pre-draft process,” Babcock says, “and I’m very excited to be involved.”
DISCLAIMER: BasketballNews.com is a media partner of the Tampa Bay Pro Combine. For more information, check out the TBPC’s website.