Marianna, FL--- Opportunities for local basketball players to show their stuff doesn't come often around here once the season ends. Local based NCAA certified scouting service Next Up Recruits is out to change that.
As high school hoops continues to grow in our area, Next Up looks to provide it's signature event, the first ever Panhandle Exposure Showcase, where the best of the best can play in their own backyard.
"It just feels good to finally have an event here, because were used to usually having to go to Atlanta and everywhere else," says Malone incoming senior Antwain Johnson. "But it's right here at home. It kind of feels good. You're comfortable."
"They do a great job. They put me up against some of the best players in this area," says Rutherford incoming senior Destin Dunton. "We've got people from Gainesville, people all over. I'm just happy I get to compete against the best because this is what I want to do."
"Man, it's a good feeling to come out and watch the other different talents and stuff like that, but we've got to put the work in to get where we want to be," says Bay incoming senior Demetrius Rivers. "Most of us want to make it to the next level."
With a talent crop this deep, all out for eyeballs and attention, every player in the gym want's to prove they're the best.
"That's just the mentality that you've got to have going in that you are the best, so just from there you go on with it," says Chipley incoming junior Trent Forrest.
"I feel like I'm still the underdog," says Marianna incoming junior Herman Williams. "There's a lot of kids out there that are competing hard and I know I got the talent to beat them. I know they're working just as hard as me, if not harder. Well, no, I can't say that, because I go hard."
The reason the gym's filled wall to wall with talent is because the player's buy in to what Next Up provides: coverage, support, and trust.
"It's just about loyalty and reaching out to the kids," says camp director and Chipley native Glen Mayo. "You show them that you're here for the right reasons and to help them and not really just for their fame.
"Mayo, Taylor Hicks, they know us," says Forrest. "So they're just looking out for us."
"It really helps us get better and helps us get out there," says Johnson.
"They're doing a good thing, just keeping everyone posted on my progress," says Williams.
"It's amazing, that's been my passion my whole life, is basketball" says Mayo. "So having these guys come to my event, it means more to me than you'll ever know."
The one day showcase was the first ever camp Next Up's held in it's three-plus year history. They plan to expand, hosting not just high school, but Juco events moving forward.