In her freshman year, Ohio forward Deesh Beck has caught attention. Coach Bob Boldon says she’s the funniest player on the team, but her opponents know her as a bully who’ll fight like a dog in order to win.
At 5-foot-9, Beck isn’t afraid to compete. She often dives for loose balls, snatches rebounds away from taller opponents and uses her strength to force people out of the way.
For Beck, her style of play is something she learned from her favorite athlete, her brother James. She calls it playing with a dog mentality.
“(James) plays the same way, so I look up to him,” Beck said. “When I see him playing aggressive with the dog mentality, it made me want to play that way as well.”
Beck started playing basketball in Grand Rapids, Michigan, after watching James, who plays for Oakland University, tear up the AAU circuit. Beck successfully followed her brother’s example and, after becoming one of the best players in Michigan, she signed with the Bobcats in 2017.
She was a highly sought after recruit, but she feels like she made the right decision choosing Ohio. Beck enjoys playing with a team that is as competitive as she is.
“I feel like we all have that dog in us,” Beck said. “We all are competitive. We don’t want to lose. I’ve played on teams where everyone wasn’t a competitor, and it’s nice to have everyone on the same page.”
Beck’s competitiveness and aggressiveness is what caught Boldon’s eye. Year in and out, Ohio is one of worst rebounding teams in the Mid-American Conference. Boldon recognized Beck’s potential to be one of his strongest sparks off the bench.
“She’s had a toughness about her for years,” Boldon said. “She’s always been a physical, tough gritty type player, and I think as she can see, she shows flashes of being really skilled.”
The flashes Boldon talks about are when Beck finesses her way past defenders or when she pulls up with her fluid jumper. Her 4.3 points per game can be misleading. Beck is more than just an enforcer. She’s also a playmaker.
Beck’s ability to rebound, score and make people laugh draws comparisons to Golden State Warrior Draymond Green from her teammates.
“She reminds me of him because she competes so hard, she has like a dog instinct,” junior Amani Burke said. “When she goes for a rebound, she’s going to get the rebound. Even if she has to knock you down, elbow you or something. It’s all right though, that’s the type of player we need.”
But while Beck’s aggressive attitude is welcome, sometimes it can get her into foul trouble. Her fouls are something she’s going to have to control if she wants to earn more playing time.
“Sometimes she’s like a bull in a china shop,” Boldon said. “It’s good for the rebounding, but then she might pick up two or three unnecessary fouls because of it.”
Beck is the only true freshman on Ohio’s roster that plays. She’s behind a lot of talented players, so her minutes fluctuate from game-to-game. Still, she refuses to stop competing and even though she’s a freshman the team looks up to her.
“Just as a freshman she’s so gritty about everything she does,” Burke said. “You can tell she’s fighting for her minutes, for her boards for her everything.”