Our Stories

Telling the most compelling
stories from the
Conference of Champions

The backstory behind Joshua Brewer's inspirational journey from Ethiopia to Washington to Tucson

Editor's note: Below is a written Q&A with Arizona's Joshua Brewer, who shared his story of perseverance across continents with Pac-12 Networks for an "Our Stories" feature. Watch the full hour-long episode of "Our Stories" on Feb. 17 on Pac-12 Network.

Tell me about moving to the United States? I’ll be honest and say that I was not excited one bit about moving to the United States. At first, like any other young kid, I did not want to be adopted or come to the U.S. I was actually scared to move to a new country with unfamiliar faces and an unfamiliar language. Even though I did hear great things about the United States, I still was not convinced about coming here. But once I arrived here in the U.S., it was actually everything that I needed. I was able to get the right surgeries for my growing bones in my amputated limbs, and I was able to make lifelong friendships with my Spokane Valley friends.

What is your adoptive family like? My adoptive family are kind and giving people. This is a family that has adopted three kids. They are kind Christians that do their best to help anyone out. We were a family of nine, with four biological kids and three adopted kids. Our home was the loud one in our cul-de-sac, but it also the fun place to be at for even my friends that came over.

Why were you so drawn to Arizona? Well, I would say the weather was definitely one of the many reason why I picked Arizona. Eight years of cold and drowsy seasons in the Northwest was enough for me, and one day when I came to Phoenix, Arizona, for a junior basketball tournament, I was convinced that this was going to be the destination for me. It was late January, sunny and warm. I was hooked right then and there.

And the University of Arizona? I was drawn to the University of Arizona because of the hospitality I received during my first requirement visit at the Disability Resources Center. Plus, seeing the adaptive equipment available for me to use was unreal and satisfying. I also found the people here on campus to be very kind and helpful those couple of days. Anybody that I asked a question was willing to help me out right away. Even when I took the bus around town, the people seemed quite friendly. This was a plus for me since I still take the bus everywhere I go.

U of A

But, educationally and athletically, I felt that this was an excellent school for me to learn at. Even the rich history of this school is awesome enough to convince you to want to be a part of its legacy. Also, with the immense number of courses and majors available at the UA, it was a no-brainer for me to submit my application to the University. There was no doubt in my heart that if I was accepted to this University that it would be my home for the next four years. The athletics side of this University was also why I chose to attend here. Being a basketball fan and attending a basketball powerhouse was something that I thought would be incredible.

As a junior wheelchair basketball player, I had the opportunity to see my current Coach, Derek Brown, coach his team growing up, and I always fantasized playing for him at this University. I enjoyed watching him get to know his players better even during the game. When he raised his voice, it was direct, and he knew exactly what he wanted to see on the court. All of these little things added up over time, and when I had the opportunity to move to Tucson, Arizona, I did not hesitate to come south.

Image courtesy: Arizona.edu