Friday, January 19, 2018


Bob Putnam, Times staff writer

Bob Putnam, Times staff writer

Bob Putnam has covered high school sports for the Tampa Bay Times as a staff writer since 1996. He is a fourth-generation Floridian who graduated from Dixie Hollins High School and wrote for the student newspapers at St. Petersburg College and USF. He has covered the high school careers of football stars Riley Cooper (CCC/Florida/Philadelphia Eagles), Dante Fowler (Lakewood/Florida/Jacksonville Jaguars), Leonard Johnson (Largo/Iowa State/Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Dexter McCluster (Largo, Mississippi/Tennessee Titans), among others.

After two decades  at Sickles, basketball coach Renaldo Garcia made the move this season to Berkeley Prep. (SCOTT PURKS, Special to the Times)

New school, same coaching style for Renaldo Garcia

Berkeley Prep's Renaldo Garcia still is the same coach. He still bellows instructions from the sidelines. His players still are methodical on offense, efficient on defense.The only difference is Garcia now wears navy and Columbia blue instead...
Published: 01/18/18
Wiregrass Ranch senior forward Justin Rush goes up for an easy bucket against Plant on Dec. 8. (Scott Purks, Special to the Times)

HomeTeam 25: Boys basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

1. St. Petersburg (11-1)This week: Friday at Osceola; Saturday vs. Oak Hill (Va.) @Berkeley Prep's National HoopfestThe buzz: The Green Devils returned to action last week, beating Palm Harbor University by 33 and...
Published: 01/17/18

Host St. Petersburg leans on guards to top Sickles

ST. PETERSBURG — The primetime matchup at St. Petersburg's annual shootout was a contrast in strengths.The host Green Devils are led by a trio of electrifying guards — Serrel Smith and Tai and Terrell Strickland. The Gryphons, the...
Published: 01/14/18
St. Petersburg's Serrel Smith (Octavio Jones, Times)

HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Serrel Smith and Jacquelyn LeVay

HomeTeam Hot Shots Serrel Smith, St. PetersburgLast month, St. Petersburg traveled to San Diego to play in the Under Armour Holiday Basketball Classic. There were plenty of adjustments the Green Devils made during their trip.
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/15/18

Another vexing Boca Ciega boys basketball loss to Largo

GULFPORT — Boca Ciega had done some pretty impressive things this season. The Pirates were 9-1, owned a share of the top seed in Class 7A, District 9 and were on a seven-game win streak.But the Pirates had not beaten Largo.On...
Published: 01/12/18
Serrel Smith and St Petersburg host a basketball shootout with some of the top area teams on Saturday. (David. W. Doonan, Special t the Times)

Like basketball shootouts? You’ll love the next two weekends

For basketball fans, there is no shortage of shootouts or tournaments the next two weekends. Seminole and St. Petersburg are both hosting shootouts on Saturday that feature some of the top-ranked teams in the area.The National Hoopfest series...
Published: 01/12/18
Nature Coast's Robert McAfee (14) shoots for two during the Nature Coast at Brooksville Central High School boys basketball game on Friday, December 15, 2017. (Lance Rothstein, Special to the Times)

HomeTeam 25: Boys basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

1. St. Petersburg (10-1)This week: Tuesday vs. Palm Harbor University; Saturday vs. Sickles (St. Petersburg shootout)The buzz: The Green Devils showed they can be serious state title contenders after a strong showing at...
Published: 01/09/18
Georgia left tackle Isaiah Wynn and tight end Jeff Blazevich laugh at a question during press conferences for the Rose Bowl game on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017, in Los Angeles, Calif. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Georgia OL Isaiah Wynn should add to Lakewood’s NFL draft legacy

Georgia offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn has the spotlight as the lone local starting in the college football championship game.In four months, Wynn will earn another memorable distinction, earning a spot alongside Ernest Givins, Pat Terrell,...
Published: 01/08/18
Updated: 01/09/18
Former University of Georgia swimmer Melanie Margalis (Countryside High) is one of the lucky ones to score tickets to the national title game.  (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Georgia’s biggest fans? Try the local swim contingent

Melanie Margalis currently lives in Athens, Ga., home of her alma mater.The former Countryside High swimming standout, who won a relay gold medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics, is training at the University of Georgia.Despite being near...
Published: 01/08/18

Clearwater Shootout roundup: Lakewood tops Tampa Bay Tech

CLEARWATER — The pace of the game was ragged. So was the play.Fouls occurred as frequently as buckets.But it was a win, something Lakewood desperately needed.Surviving a defensive slug fest, the Spartans did just enough to...
Published: 01/05/18
Updated: 01/06/18