Photo courtesy of The Citadel. Derek Webster earned a full-ride scholarship to The Citadel.

Former Seffner Christian Academy basketball star Derek Webster has forged an interesting college career path since graduating in 2017.

The Riverview resident had a tremendous high school basketball career for the Crusaders, starting all four years while setting the career assist and rebound records, and scoring 1,000 career points. In 2017, Webster helped lead the program to its first regional championship in school history, along with its first final four appearance.

The power forward picked up basketball from his father, Derek Webster Sr., who had a very successful career at Florida A&M University from 1983-1986. His parents met while they both attended the school, and his sister currently attends.

Webster had several basketball scholarship offers, but chose The Citadel, which was his only Division I full-ride scholarship offer. With The Citadel, a military school in South Carolina giving him the scholarship, he became committed to fulfilling duties as a cadet at the school as well. While no one in Webster’s immediate family served in the military, he felt that he was up to the task of becoming a cadet because he grew up in a disciplined and structured household.

The school not only offered him a full-ride scholarship, they also have taken a vested interest in helping Webster reach his goal of going to medical school. The Citadel introduced him to the head anesthesiologist at the University of South Carolina. USC may be one of several options for medical school depending on how he does on his MCAT exam.

The Biology major’s future is bright. He has earned many academic honors in his four years in college. Webster is a three-time Southern Conference Honor Roll honoree. He has earned the Southern Conference Commissioner’s Medal for the last two years and is a two-time Academic All-SoCon selection.

During the 2019-20 academic year, he was named to the Chi Alpha Sigma National Scholar-Athlete Society, and in July he was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Honor Court. With a cumulative 3.82 GPA, he’s earned Gold Stars for five semesters.

The Citadel is off to a 7-0 start this season, which may be the best start in school history. Webster hopes to lead his team to a winning record in his last season because they haven’t had one since he joined the program.

The military is not in the cards for Webster after college, and The Citadel has no military service obligation like the service academies. He feels that medical school is his calling, and is still deciding which field of medicine he wants to pursue.

Webster feels that being at The Citadel has been challenging, balancing being a D-I athlete along with his responsibilities as a cadet and a full-time biology student, but the experience has helped prepare him for his future.

“I’ve always been told that nothing worth having comes easy,” said Webster. “The major thing the school has taught me is to find a way.”

Webster will also take away the many friendships he’s made along the way.

“Having those relationships and friendships with the guys on my team, I will cherish those forever, and some of those guys will be my good friends for the rest of my life,” said Webster.

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Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.