Derek is native to the Pacific Northwest, growing up in Vancouver, Washington. He was an all-state high school basketball player at Evergreen High School and then went on to play at Portland State University from 1996-2000, where he was an Academic All-American as well as an inductee into the 2006 Hall of Fame Class.
During and after college, Derek played basketball in 14 countries around the world. It was those trips that planted the seed for Courts for Kids as he saw the universality of sports and how a simple concrete court could be such a vital asset to a community. He also saw a tremendous change in his own life through those cross-cultural experiences and developed a strong desire to take other Americans to share in similar experiences. After a random email from the Philippines in 2006 expressing a need for a basketball court and a group of Americans ready to volunteer, these two visions became a reality and Courts for Kids was born.