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Bob Putnam, Times Staff Writer

Bob Putnam

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.

Phone: (727) 580-4395


  1. Dallas Moore is ready to prove his NBA worth


    Dallas Moore could make history. The 6-foot-1 guard has a chance to become the first player from North Florida selected in the NBA draft. The former Boca Ciega standout also could be the first bay area player drafted since John Henson (Sickles/North Carolina) was taken in the first round in 2012.

    Moore, however, will not be glued to the television. In fact, Moore said he will most likely be working out at Eckerd College during the draft....

    North Florida's Dallas Moore playing against UConn this season.
  2. Kevin Knox tweaks hamstring at U19 tryouts


    For the past two years, Kevin Knox led USA Basketball’s junior national teams to world titles.

    The opportunity for a third was cut short Wednesday after Knox tweaked his hamstring during tryouts for the U19 team.

    Knox, a former Tampa Catholic standout who is entering his freshman season at Kentucky, was encouraged by Wildcats coach John Calipari to return to Lexington to heal....

    Kevin Knox at McDonald's All-American Game.
  3. Tampa Catholic's Tai Strickland transfers to St. Petersburg


    Tampa Catholic’s Tai Strickland transferred to St. Petersburg earlier this month.

    Strickland helped the Crusaders reach the state semifinals two years ago and the state title game this past season. His departure is a blow for Tampa Catholic, which already lost Kevin Knox to graduation. Knox (28.9 points per game) and Strickland (13.2) were the only two that averaged double figures in scoring for the Crusaders last year....

    Tai  Strickland in action at the state semifinals this past season.
  4. Wiregrass Ranch's Shamaur McDowell transfers to IMG


    Less than two weeks after committing to Minnesota, Shamaur McDowell made another big decision.

    On Tuesday, the senior defensive back said he was transferring from Wiregrass Ranch to IMG Academy.

    “My parents and I felt like it was the best decision,” McDowell said. “It will allow me to focus on being the best student-athlete I can be. It will also prepare me for the next stage in my life.”...

    Shamaur McDowell at practice this spring.
  5. Armwood's Warren Thompson commits to Oregon


    Warren Thompson was ready to commit to Oregon once he returned home from a visit last week.

    The Armwood receiver loved the coaching staff and the facilities. Still, Thompson did not want to make an impulse decision. So he waited a few days.

    He was weighing offers from North Carolina and FSU, the other two schools in his top three.

    All signs kept pointing to the Northwest. Thompson has three tattoos of douglas firs on his left arm and he saw those trees on his visit to Eugene. For the past two months, Thompson said he also noticed some ducks that kept strolling past his front yard....

    Armwood's Warren Thompson in action.
  6. Tampa Bay Times' all-Tampa Bay softball


    Hillsborough County Player of the Year: SS Hope Hernandez, Sr., Chamberlain

    Chris Urso | Times...

    From left, Land O' Lakes' Tia Williams, Palm Harbor University's Savanna Bennett, Canterbury's Taylor Bump, Land O' Lakes' Callie Turner and Chamberlain's Hope Hernandez. (Chris Urson, Times)
  7. Tampa Bay Times all-Hillsborough County softball


    Player of the year: Hope Hernandez, Sr., Chamberlain

    Pitcher of the year: Ashley Blessin, So., Plant City

    Coach of the year: Ashley Bullion, Plant City

    First team

    P Alexys Lawson, Jr., Bloomingdale

    P Haley Murphy, Jr., East Bay

    P Gabby Vallee, Jr., Chamberlain

    P Emalee Jansen, Sr., Steinbrenner

    C Chloe Boos, So., Academy of the Holy Names...

    Chamberlain's Hope Hernandez poses for a photograph Wednesday, May 31, 2017 in Westchase. (Chris Urso, Times)
  8. Tampa Bay Times all-North Suncoast softball


    Player of the year: Tia Williams, Jr., Land O'Lakes

    Pitcher of the year: Callie Turner, So., Land O'Lakes

    Coach of the year: Mitch Wilkins, Land O'Lakes

    First team

    P Kama Woodall, Sr., Springstead

    P Alexis Kilfoyl, So., Academy at the Lakes

    P Jordan Almasy, Fr., Wesley Chapel

    P Ali Shenefield, So., Hernando

    C Paige Pfent, Jr., Springstead...

    Land O'Lakes shortstop Tia Williams (22) hits a double at the bottom of the fifth during the Class 6A softball title game between Land O'Lakes and American Heritage at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach. Final score: Land O'Lakes 3, American Heritage 1. (Andres Leiva, Times)
  9. Tampa Bay Times all-Pinellas County softball


    Player of the year: Taylor Bump, Sr., Canterbury

    Pitcher of the year: Savanna Bennett, So., Palm Harbor University

    Coach of the year: Jody Moore, Canterbury

    First team

    P Jordan Lewis, Sr., Countryside

    P Ashley Campbell, Sr., Canterbury

    P Tori Brennan, Fr., East Lake

    P Savannah Farkas, Jr., Northside Christian

    C Danielle Romanello, Sr., Canterbury...

    Canterbury shortstop Taylor Bump (13) singles to leftfield in the bottom of the third during the Class 2A softball state semifinal game between Canterbury and Mount Dora Christian at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach. (Andres Leiva, Times)
  10. Tampa Bay Times' all-Tampa Bay girls track and field teams


    Pinellas Athlete of the Year: Katie Barnett, Sr., Admiral Farragut

    Why we picked her: The field event specialist defended her Class A state title in the triple jump, clearing 11.75 meters (38 feet, 6.75 inches). She also finished second in the long jump in 5.52 meters (18 feet, 1.5 inches), ran third leg on the winning 4x100 relay (48.90 seconds) and ran second leg on the third-place 4x400 relay (4:03.89). Barnett contributed to 34 of the Blue Jackets' 54 points to help the team finish as the state runnerup....

    Admiral Farragut senior Katie Barnett won or placed in four events at the state meet. (Times file, 2016)
  11. Former Tampa Prep standout Juwan Durham commits to Notre Dame


    Former Tampa Prep standout Juwan Durham announced via Twitter that he is transferring from Connecticut to Notre Dame.

    Durham, a 6-foot-11 forward, left the Huskies in April after his freshman season. He visited several schools during his latest recruitment and picked the Fighting Irish over Virginia Tech and Villanova, among others.

    Two years ago, Durham committed to UConn after taking his official visit to the school. At the time of his commitment, he was considered a four-star recruit and a top-25 prospect in the 2016 class by nearly every major recruiting service. He was one of the rare bay area basketball stars who committed to a national title contender in the past decade....

    Former Tampa Prep standout Juwan Durham
  12. Area softball players rake in state honors


    The accolades are coming in for Land O'Lakes and Canterbury, the two bay area softball programs that won state titles this season.

    Gators' pitcher Callie Turner, a sophomore who has already committed to Tennessee, was the named the Class 6A player of the year by the Florida Dairy Farmers. Turner was 17-2 with a 0.21 ERA this season. She also had 249 strikeouts in 133 innings.

    Land O'Lakes coach Mitch Wilkins was named the 6A coach of the year. In his fourth season with the program, Wilkins led the Gators to their first fast-pitch title and the first for Pasco County since Ridgewood won in 1992....

    Canterbury shortstop Taylor Bump (13) hits the walk-off single to win the Class 2A softball state title game between Canterbury and Aucilla Christian at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Fla., on Thursday, May 18, 2017. Final score: Canterbury 2, Aucilla Christian 1.
  13. Tampa Bay Times' all-Tampa Bay boys track and field teams


    Pinellas Athlete of the Year: James Thorpe, Sr., Indian Rocks Christian

    Why we picked him: A lineman in football, Thorpe became adept at throwing the shot put and discus, so much that he set school records in both events. This season he had more lofty goals. He wanted to win state titles. Thorpe accomplished that at the Class A state meet, taking first in the shot with a throw of 16.73 meters (54 feet, 10.75 inches). His throw of 17.42 meters at the region meet ranks third overall in the state. That's not all. Thorpe was the state runnerup in the discus with a mark of 46.75 meters (153.04 feet). ...

    BRADENTON - Hillsborough senior Duran Bell runs the final stretch of the 400-meter run during the Class 3A state track championships. Bell finished in a blazing 46.41 seconds, one of the fastest times run this year in the entire nation. Bell also earned state medals in the 100 and 200-meter races and in the 4X400 relay. Taken 5-6-17 by Scott Purks
  14. TBT's Jonathan King commits to Oregon


    Tampa Bay Tech defensive lineman Jonathan King announced via Twitter his commitment to Oregon, giving former USF coach Willie Taggart another top-tier recruit from the Tampa Bay area.

    King, a 6-foot-2, 245-pound senior, is a three-star recruit. He picked the Ducks over Florida, Miami and Penn State among others.

    This is the second bay area recruit Oregon has landed from the 2018 class. The other was Wesley Chapel athlete Isaiah Bolden, who switched his commitment from FSU to the Ducks in the spring....

    TBT's Jonathan King gets past a defender in spring jaboree.
  15. Armwood promotes football assistant Evan Davis to head coach


    Armwood, focusing on continuity in its powerhouse football program, promoted offensive coordinator Evan Davis to coach Friday.

    Davis, 31, succeeds his high school coach, Sean Callahan, who resigned after the Hawks' spring jamboree May 18.

    It is a job Davis coveted.

    "All I ever wanted was a shot," he said. "I turned down head coaching offers elsewhere to stay here."

    Davis, who played at Armwood from 1999-2003, returned 11 years ago as an assistant coach and has been the offensive coordinator for the past seven seasons. He figured he would be considered for the top position but never imagined it would happen this quickly. ...

    Evan Davis attends a signing day in 2011 at Armwood. [MELISSA LYTTLE   |   Times]