Never give up

Senior Spotlight: Derek Erwin


Emma Peters

Erwin shares some qualities with his older brother, Brett Erwin, who graduated from West in 2018. They both played basketball all four years of high school. “They’re both hard working. They were obviously raised really well so they’re both great kids. I think Derek is a little more outgoing towards everyone else,” Paulson said.

Luke Loving, Reporter

Imagine climbing a mountain, but every time you almost reach the top, you trip and fall right back down to the bottom. Imagine having to rehab through the whole off-season leading up to your senior year. Imagine having to miss games at the beginning of the season because of an injury that happened almost a year ago. For senior Derek Erwin, he doesn’t have to imagine it because it’s his reality. 

Erwin is a basketball player, and he has been facing setbacks for years now. It seems as if every time he recovers from an injury, another one is right around the corner. He has had a bruised kidney, dislocated finger, fractured fibula, broken hand, and most recently a torn ACL.

“[The recovery] has been really long. It’s been a grind, but really I’ve just been listening to what people have been telling me with their experiences with a torn ACL like ‘don’t rush it,’” Erwin said. 

Erwin’s battle with injuries exemplifies the hard work and dedication he put in towards his basketball career. Erwin’s father, Mike Erwin, had a significant impact on Erwin’s mindset. 

“He’s worked hard his whole life. Where he started as a kid and where he’s at now, he’s been really successful,” D. Erwin said. 

Erwin is following in his father’s footsteps of being a hard worker. His hard work stands out and is noticed by his peers and coaches. Griffin Paulson is a baseball coach and has been coaching at West for eight years. 

“First time I met him at West he was an athletic kid, super nice kid, and I always knew he was nice from when he was little, but very athletic kid and hard working,” Paulson said. “He works harder now, he’s still a great kid and I think he has the respect of a lot of people and that’s because he shows everybody a lot of respect.”

“What motivates me the most is probably competition. I don’t like the feeling of other people thinking they’re better than me,” Erwin said.

 Erwin’s transformation from freshman year is a testament to how much time and effort he has put in towards his body and mind. While he has put countless hours into working on building his physical strength, he is still able to excel in his academics which has earned him a spot in the National Honor Society. Senior Kadin Emery has known Erwin since kindergarten.

“We are closer now than we were when we first met,” Emery said. “Derek is now one built dude and not skinny and scrawny anymore. His most inspiring quality is that he is so smart and school is so easy for him.”

Erwin is planning to attend Grand Canyon University and hopes to be a physical therapist when he is older. Erwin is ready for what the future holds and has an unselfish goal for when he ages. 

“Lifetime goal is probably to really just be a great family man you know like to provide for the family,” Erwin said. “As long as the wife is happy, the kids are happy, then I’m happy.”