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3 honored by school board

Here are some words used to describe the three athletes honored at the awards ceremony at the Hillsborough County School Board on Tuesday: "Smart, humble, friendly, tough, leader."

And here's the word honoree Will Cade used most: "Surprised."

Cade won the Alston "Mac" McGahagin Basketball Award, given each year to a Hillsborough County senior who is, "the best of the best," as award presenter Dottie McGahagin said.

But Cade couldn't believe he was holding the winner's plaque.

"The best of the best?" said Cade, a guard who averaged 21 points a game this season for Chamberlain. "It's really difficult for me to say that I was the best.

"There are a lot of great players in this county and I was just honored to play against them. I never expected to win this award and I'm so happy to be here."

Brandon's Melissa Brown, who won the girls best-of-the-county award, wasn't quite as shocked as Cade, but was surprised nonetheless.

"This is such a great honor that I didn't think I would win it," said Brown, who led the Eagles with 17 points and eight rebounds a game. "There were several other very good players out there."

The county's third honoree, however, Tampa Prep wrestler David Solomon, had a less-surprised reaction to winning the Tom Wells Award.

"I set a goal of winning this award four years ago," said Solomon, who went 35-0 with 24 pins and a state championship this season. "Now I'd like to earn All-America honors before I graduate from college."

Solomon will be attending Brown University this fall and much like Brown and Cade, he said he also will continue to put a premium on academics.

Solomon owns a 3.5 grade-point average and scored 1,360 on the SAT, while Cade and Brown have 4.54 and 3.8 grade-point averages, respectively, (advanced placement courses included).

Cade, a 5-foot-10 guard known for his outside shooting, has yet to receive a college basketball scholarship offer, but he remains hopeful. Cade said he will attend college whether something happens with basketball or not, and probably will pursue something in a mathematics-related field.

Brown, a 5-8 guard, said she has a basketball scholarship offer from Florida Southern, but is still weighing her options.