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Allison receives top accolade

When post-season high school awards are given out, the most talented players or underclassmen don't always win.

But that was not the case Tuesday night at the 12th annual Tampa Bay Boys Basketball Coaches Association awards banquet at the Radisson Bay Harbor Inn.

Robinson's Desmond Allison was named player of the year, despite only being a junior and serving a six-week suspension during the season.

When Allison was playing, however, few could match his leadership, unselfishness and raw ability.

Allison averaged 36 points, 12 rebounds and 9.8 assists per game which is just less than a triple-double per game.

"It's a really special honor for me to receive this award," Allison said. "After serving a suspension and still being able to receive this recognition means a lot to me."

Tampa Prep received the most accolades with team-of-the-year honors, three players on all-star teams and the coach-of-the-year award. Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenlon received the award for the third time, but had his most rewarding season by advancing to the state Class 3A final before losing to Port St. Joe.

The Meritorious Service Award went to Chamberlain assistant principal Jimmy Smith.

Leto's Jose Mesa received the Heart of a Champion award for his outstanding service for Leto athletics.

Mesa, who has a genetic disorder with his hip and needs the use of a special shoe and a crutch to walk, served as a team manager for various teams, including boys basketball, during his four years of high school.

"He's really just a player that can't play," Leto coach Mike Baker said. "You can't take for granted what someone like Jose does. And I really think that receiving the award really means a lot to him."

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