Beyond the Game: Erin Peoples

Sports Reporter

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Sophomore Erin Peoples grew up in Little Rock, Ark. where her father, Ernest, molded her into the player she is today—a slashing forward that rebounds and defends multiple positions.

Peoples is averaging 9.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game in her sophomore season. She is 30th in scoring and 11th in rebounding in the conference.

“My dad made me love basketball,” Peoples said. “He taught me everything—how to shoot, dribble, how to read a defense. He was always there to support me and give me tips. He showed me the ropes in basketball.”

Peoples led Parkview High School to the Class 6-A State Championship in two consecutive years. The team finished second during her junior year. Peoples tallied 20 points, eight rebounds and five steals in the 50-31 victory against Russellville High School during her senior year. She earned the state tournament MVP for her performance.

“It was a big deal because every year we made it far, and we finally pulled it off,” Peoples said. “We were known for winning championships. I’m pretty sure my coach had five before I arrived.”

Peoples received offers from Georgetown, Houston and Texas State. The first school she visited, Texas State, ended up being her last visit.

“They made me feel at home,” Peoples said. “I loved the team and coaching staff when I visited. Coach (Zenarae) Antoine—she just got me. She was this mother-like figure to me. She’s really passionate about the game. She loves basketball just as much as I do.”

Antoine, an assistant coach at Arkansas for three years, was familiar with Peoples’ basketball skill set. Antoine met Peoples in high school during the Amateur Athletic Union season.

“Erin is considered one of the top players in the top state of Arkansas,” Antoine said in a press release after Peoples committed to Texas State. “Erin is the most versatile player in this class. She can play both the guard and post positions and has the ability to score and rebound with the best of them.”

Peoples was the only Texas State freshman who started every game last season. Peoples, a WAC All-Freshman Team selection, led the team in rebounds and steals last year.

“It was difficult,” Peoples said. “The pace was a lot faster, but my team helped me, and I was prepared. I worked hard, and I put in extra work.”

Peoples said her life revolves around basketball. She will often head to the recreation center to play basketball after a three-hour practice.

“Erin is one of the hardest workers on the team,” Antoine said. “She does have a chance to be a professional basketball player, but she needs to develop a 3-pointer. She’s an excellent rebounder and passer. She can defend and create points off the dribble.”

Peoples still has two years of eligibility remaining, but she does not want her basketball career to conclude at the collegiate level.

“I’ll never stop working,” Peoples said. “I want to still play basketball in five years. I hope I’m still playing after college. I’ve always dreamed to play professionally—overseas or in the WNBA.”