Basketball has taken Brighton baller Bud Johnson places. After stints with his hometown Bears and Nottingham, he ventured overseas – balling up in Iceland and at various teams in Germany. But now that his playing days are over, he’s trying to provide opportunities to a new generation of hoopsters by organising an exposure camp.

“The inspiration behind this came from me visiting a camp in Germany called ‘Slammers’,” he told MVP.

“That’s a three day camp and they get a ton of Americans over, straight out of college. For me, that was a good way to get exposure. If you play well there, you’ll get a contract, no doubt – because they’ve got a good network of coaches over there who are looking to sign players. I just couldn’t understand why nobody’s doing that in England. I just feel like there are so many British players out there who are good, but they’re not getting an opportunity to play because there’s nowhere for them to showcase in front of BBL coaches.”

So, Bud is trying to fill that gap with his Rising Ballers Pro Performers event, taking place in Nottingham on July 2nd.

“In terms of coaches, the response has been very good,” Bud says “particularly from European guys.

“We’ve got a FIBA accredited agent coming over from Norway, the Irish national team coach coming over. We’ve got a guy coming from Finland, another from Vietnam. We’ve got a lot of coaches who are interested in getting Bosman players.

“Player-wise, we’ve had a lot of applications from Americans. Some of them are from guys currently playing in the NBA D-League. From English guys, it’s been a lot slower. UK basketball players want everything for free! But it’s not going to be like that.

“You gotta pay – we’re not making any money this year – we’re just trying to cover our costs. But players have to apply. We need to have some kind of evidence that you’re able to play at that level, otherwise we’re going to be saying to coaches ‘we’ve got elite players coming’ then we’ve got scrubs turning up.”

If you think you’re on the level – and want to get seen by scouts, agents and coaches, then hit up RisingBallers.com/pro, search for “Rising Ballers Pro Performers” on Facebook or call +44 (0)7732 886 265.

Alternatively, get down to Brunel University in Uxbridge this Saturday (June 18) for a Pro Performers pre-session, where you can see how you measure up. The run is from 2pm – 5.30pm.

Image: Thomas Angus

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