Sports

Webb thrives on larger stage

South Kitsap graduate Derrick Webb has bounced back strong from the broken foot that ended last season for him at WWU. - Courtesy photo
South Kitsap graduate Derrick Webb has bounced back strong from the broken foot that ended last season for him at WWU.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

The basketball rests in the center of the inked tattoo web on his left arm.

Clearly, it is a play off of Derrick Webb’s name.

But it also can be viewed in another way when it comes to the 2005 South Kitsap High School graduate and Western Washington senior. Put the ball in Webb’s hands and there are a variety of ways he can find the net.

Consider the Vikings’ 94-86 triple-overtime loss Jan. 7 at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey. Webb scored the first six points of the second overtime. The first came on an NBA-distance 3-pointer with 3 minutes, 56 seconds left. A little more than 20 seconds later, Webb drove for a layup and completed another three-point play with a free throw.

“He’s one of those guys that changes speed and direction pretty well,” Western coach Brad Jackson said. “He’s strong and can get into the paint.”

Webb shots 50 percent from the field — 38.2 percent on 3-pointers — as the Vikings have a 14-2 record through Saturday. Those shooting statistics might be even more impressive considering Webb redshirted last season when he fell and broke his right (shooting) wrist during a preseason workout.

“I was out there constantly taking shots,” he said. “The doctor told me the best way to strengthen it is to shoot.”

He described the situation as difficult, but said it also allowed him work on conditioning and develop his knowledge of the game.

“I tried to turn it into a positive,” Webb said. “I’ve never sat out and watched my team play. I think I learned a lot of little things I wanted to work on.”

It is far from the most adversity he has faced, though. He came from a broken home in Seattle and was raised by his brother, Anthony Peterson, who starred at Highline High School and worked with Webb to hone his skills. Webb is reticent to discuss his past beyond being “thankful” for family support.

He came to Port Orchard in eighth grade, where he moved in with his aunt and uncle, the parents of another former South star, L.P. Neloms. Webb is also related to the Curry family, which had three boys — Trivone, Tysaiah and Tionne — play for the Wolves.

After helping South to second- and sixth-place finishes before he graduated in 2005, Webb hoped to team again with 6-foot-8 forward Jake Beitinger at Eastern Washington.

But he was not able to qualify academically, so the 6-foot-3 guard headed to Highline Community College, where he helped the Thunderbirds to a 21-9 record and the quarterfinals of the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges as a sophomore. Webb averaged 16.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game and was set to sign with Seattle University.

He said some of his college credits did not transfer from Highline to SU, and he asked to be released from his letter of intent. Shortly after, Jackson approached him about joining his team.

Webb served as the Vikings’ sixth-man in 2007-08, averaging nine points in 22.3 minutes per game. He averages a team-high 15.1 points per game on a squad that is looking to repeat as Great Northwest Athletic Conference champions.

His presence gives Western a veteran-laden backcourt with fellow seniors Morris Anderson and Harold McAllister. In addition to Webb’s hardwood skills, Jackson likes the intangibles he brings to the program.

“He’s one of the most positive people I’ve been around,” said Jackson, who has coached the Vikings since 1985. “He’s a great teammate and guys love being around him.”

The season on the sidelines did nothing to quell Webb’s passion for basketball. After he graduates with a general-studies degree this spring, Webb hopes to continue playing professionally.

“It has always been a dream of mine,” he said. “I will go anywhere.”

Based on his experience with previous players, Jackson said there is “no question” that Webb is talented enough to play in Europe. Whenever his playing career ends, Webb hopes to get into coaching. He said being an assistant under South coach John Callaghan would interest him, but added that he had not given it much consideration.

“Maybe I should talk with Coach Callaghan,” Webb said. “He’s a good friend of mine and always will be.”

For now, Webb is just looking forward to the regular season and the Vikings’ rematch with Saint Martin’s on Feb. 6.

“We’ll get them in Bellingham,” he said. “Mark my words.”

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