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Hillsborough: News and notes

Former Tampa Prep boys basketball standout J.C. Smith is returning to his old bench — to coach the Terrapins girls.

Athletic director Carol Chalu confirmed Smith — a member of the 1997 and '98 Terps teams that reached state — has been hired to replace Greg Linley, who guided Tampa Prep's girls to playoff berths in each of his two seasons.

A shooting guard with dead-eye accuracy from long range, Smith graduated from the University of Florida in 1992 with a degree in sports management, and earned a master's degree from UF two years later.

An instructor with the Southeast Basketball Academy, he coached the Terps boys JV for two seasons, losing only one game. Last year's team finished 13-0 which, according to veteran varsity coach Joe Fenlon, was the program's first undefeated season.

Now, he inherits a team that graduated six seniors and lost another player to a transfer.

"It's going to be a different challenge," Smith said.

"In JV I lost one game in two years and I just wanted a new challenge in building up a program. It's always been lopsided; the boys have always been the more prestigious program at Tampa Prep. … I figured I'd give it a shot and see if I could actually coach that well or not."

orioles withdraw offer to givens: Barring a last-minute change in negotiations, it appears former Plant shortstop/pitcher Mychal Givens will not sign with the Baltimore Orioles, who drafted him in the second round of June's MLB draft.

The Orioles reportedly withdrew their offer to Givens on Wednesday, five days before the deadline to sign players taken in the draft. If he doesn't sign, Givens will play at Oklahoma State.

"We just have too much ground to cover," Orioles amateur scouting director Joe Jordan told the Baltimore Sun on Wednesday evening. "I don't know what else to say, but the offer is pulled, we're doing other things, and I don't see us coming back around. These guys have been pretty much nonresponsive. …

"I have other things I can do to add legitimate talent to this system. I couldn't do that with this as my focus. It's time to move on."

Jordan said Givens' adviser, Kenny Felder, upped Givens' demands on draft day. Givens said the Orioles knew his asking price going in. It is believed Givens, the 54th overall selection, was seeking first-round money.

Givens said he held out hope a deal could be made by Monday.

"It's always been up to them," Givens told the Sun. "If they really wanted me, they would have come with an agreement and gotten me signed. I'm still looking to go to school. Maybe they'll call me back and we'll come to an agreement. I'd be happy to be a Baltimore Oriole."

dragon picks north florida: Jefferson guard Jade Givens, the catalyst in the girls basketball team's 28-2 season last winter, has committed to Division I North Florida, Dragons coach Tom Mosca announced.

A first-team pick on the Times' all-Suncoast team, Givens averaged 11.1 points, 4.3 assists and five steals for the Dragons, who reached the Class 5A region finals. Jefferson won 17 in a row before falling to Boca Ciega in the region championship.

Hillsborough: News and notes 08/13/09 [Last modified: Thursday, August 13, 2009 10:34pm]

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