Paxon head coach Toby Frazier is the first to admit: he's still getting used to people coming up to him in the halls, the barbershop, and about town.
"It's different," the alum-turned-coach smiled at this year's High School Basketball Media Day. "But we're humble. We're appreciative. We're blessed to be in this position."
Thanks to a magical playoff run in 2019, the Golden Eagles have gone from the hunters to the hunted in one year's time. Paxon School for Advanced Studies, a school largely known for its academics, had climbed the mountain of Florida high school hoops, making its first trip to the Class 6A Final Four since 1965.
"We were the underdogs last year going into the season, but as the season went on, then everybody knew who we [were]," Paxon point guard Jakobe Williams said.
"Just being human, you hear the rumblings," Frazier added. "The 'hey coach, we're going back!' 'We gotta make it back!'
"But if you don't do the things it takes to make it back, it won't happen."
That's why Frazier and his squad -- who are all returning in 2019-2020 -- have strived to make their circle tighter than ever. The same group that started as freshmen and sophomores and went through "growing pains" together must now ignore "outside noise" two years later.
"[I told them] 'hey. We have to set our own expectations. We can't let the community or our family members. You have to drive this car,'" Frazier recalled.
The funny part is: the Golden Eagles know "reaching the Final Four" was far from their final goal.
"Just the fact that we went [to the Final Four], and then we lost... it just fuels us," Williams said. "Now we know what it takes to get there. Now we have to work even harder so we can win it this year."
The Golden Eagles' quest begins Saturday, November 30, when they travel to Lee.