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From role player to role model
Derrick Webb truly is a superstar.
Not so much on the basketball court, a place where he is a star, but in life in general.
The little guy that always seems to have a smile on his face has come a long way in life. From a broken home to South Kitsap Homecoming King, from role player to leader of the states top-ranked and unbeaten basketball team, Webb has seen it all.
I think Im doing pretty good this season, Webb said, as he and the Wolves prepare for post-season play. Ive stepped up a little bit. I had to change my role from last year to maybe scoring a little more and playing a little defense this year. And thats what Ive been trying to do.
Hes had to change a lot through life, and he makes it seem as effortless and as smooth as one of his patented jump shots.
Webb didnt have the luxury of a normal childhood while growing up in Seattle. His parents had their share of problems and it was his brother Anthony Peterson who took a leadership role in his life, watched out for him and introduced him to the sport he would come to love.
My brother helped me out, Webb said. I looked up to him.
It was Peterson, who starred at Highline High, who raised Derrick until he moved to Port Orchard when he was in seventh grade to live with his aunt and uncle.
And life was tough at times.
A little bit, but I stayed focused on school and basketball, Webb said. My brother kept me in line, a lot. Kind of like a father to me.
If I have problems, I call him, Webb said. Hes the first person Id call. Were real close. He comes to every single one of my games.
Webb has gotten a little closer to his father, who lives in Bremerton and has seen a few games this year. His mother is a different story.
I dont talk to my mother or anything like that, Webb said. Ive just never really talked to her. Its just not a good relationship.
But his relationship with the game of basketball has been a good one, especially this year. Entering tonights Narrows League cross-over game with Foss, Webb is averaging 15 points and six rebounds a game for the 20-0 Wolves.
And the senior has done it all while changing positions and roles on this team, moving from point guard while taking over as the teams leader.
Its been big, Webb said. I learned a lot from Jake (Beitinger) and Adam (Bennett), (Brian) Cox, (Nate) Seitz all the captains that were here before me. They taught me a lot. Just looking up to them and seeing how that acted around the players.
So now I know how to push our players, Webb said. I like the leadership role.
And his coach, John Callaghan, like the way Webb has so easily assumed that role.
I cant say enough about (Webb), Callaghan said. His role changed, and I think Derrick hit the nail on the head he learned from Jake and Adam, and he learned from Brian and Trivone (Curry). Derrick has been fortunate and smart enough to pick up and learn what its like to be a leader.
I think a lot of times, and you can ask any of those guys I just named, its a lot easier when youre the underclassman and you can just go out and play, Callaghan said. But I think Derrick understands the sense of urgency this is it for him now. He knows what it feels like at the end. Win or lose, when its over, when its the end, a lot of really fun, good stuff ends.
With all the troubles in his young life and the pressure of leading a top-ranked team, Webb has always found a way to keep it fun. He relishes the role as the teams superstar but in a very humble and easygoing way.
I think he plays better when he thinks people think he is better, said teammate Connor McPherson, one of Webbs closest friends. Once people get him going and talking about him and he gets that attention, he kind of feeds off it.
But not in a way that turns his teammates off, McPherson said. He has fun with it but never considers himself above anyone else.
And Webb is always keeping an eye on others as well. He keeps up with the teams grades, often challenging teammates to outscore him not on the court but in the classroom.
But his attitude also brings some good ribbing from his friends, especially Webbs perception of his way with the ladies.
Webbs a ladies man. Webb gets the girls, McPherson said. Webbs funny.
I lot of girls are digging him, and hes enjoying it, said Jamil Moore, Webbs other close friend and teammate. Its fun to watch.
But Moore and McPherson and the rest of the team bring him back to earth on the court. And they represent his family now, especially those three, who are often found hanging out together on the weekends.
Almost an extended family for Webb.
A little bit, Webb said. It helps to have somewhere to go.
And going back to state is the goal for Webb and his team. Webb has said anything less than a return trip to the title game, a game the Wolves lost in last year, would be a failure.
After that, its off for more basketball. He has been getting looks from area colleges and may get even more if he plays well in the playoffs.
As of now, UPS, PLU and Whitworth have all shown an interest in Webb and he is interested in all of them.
Playing college ball is definitely in his plans.
Hopefully, Webb said. Thats what Im looking for. Thats what I want to do. I just dont know where I want to go yet.
Wherever that is, Webb is sure to be the superstar there as well.