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By Steve Andrews

When Wynter Beck began her journey with the Fayetteville girls basketball program last season, the easiest thing she had to do was pick a jersey number.

The number 14 had already become a family tradition, and Beck — now a junior for the Bulldogs — was just the next in line to continue the legacy.

“My uncle and my cousin, they’ve already got a name here, so I just feel like I’m the younger one, just trying to keep it alive,” she said.

The number was worn by her cousin, Coriah Beck, when she played for Fayetteville from 2017-20, helping the Bulldogs to a shared state championship with Bentonville in the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season.


But it was her uncle, Corey Beck, who made the number famous, after leading the Arkansas Razorbacks to the 1993-94 men’s national championship and donning the cover of Sports Illustrated the following week.

“Honestly, I didn’t even realize he played basketball until I was about 11 years old,” Wynter said with a shrug. “Now, around here, I hear people talk about him all the time.”

Growing up in Memphis, Wynter remembers having a basketball in her hands at an early age and realizing she could be pretty good on the hardwood.

“When I was young, I can remember me and my cousins playing on a basketball goal at my uncle’s house — I was just shooting it, and everything I was shooting was going in, going in,” she said with a big grin. “Then Coriah and I came to Fayetteville one summer to attend the Ronnie Brewer Basketball Camp, and I just really loved playing from that point.”

In 2014, prior to beginning fourth grade, Wynter moved from Memphis to Fayetteville, with the blessing of her mother, to live with Corey and his family. Her uncle then became a father-figure in her life and continues to thrive in that role today.

“It was important for me to make sure that my girls, including Wynter, got a good education,” Corey said. “That was one of the reasons I brought my daughters back here, and that worked out well, so I wanted to give Wynter that same opportunity to get an education, play basketball and succeed in life.”

Wynter’s mother, Arthurine, resides in Memphis, but is still very active in her daughter’s life. She keeps in touch with Wynter daily and even speaks with the Fayetteville coaching staff to get weekly updates on school and basketball.

“The cool thing is, that her mom’s and uncle’s expectation for her are high, and they push her to get better, and are very supportive of our program,” Fayetteville head coach Vic Rimmer said. “Corey and Miss Arthurine have been tremendous parents to work with. And of course, it has been awesome to have Corey Beck be a part of our program for as long as he has been.”


This is the fifth consecutive year Rimmer has had a Beck on the floor for him, which he counts as a blessing.

“Both Wynter and Coriah are both very strong kids and very creative with the ball in their hands,” Rimmer said. “Coriah was longer than Wynter is and was probably better in the post, but Wynter shoots the ball a little better from the perimeter. But they both can handle the ball and pass well.”

Coriah is now in her sophomore season playing at the University of Memphis, while her cousin has become the focal point at Fayetteville. The 5-foot-7 point guard leads the Bulldogs (10-14, 5-6 in 6A-West) in nearly every statistical category, averaging 14.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 2.5 assists per game. But she is quick to credit the influences of Coriah and Corey for helping her become the player she is today.

“Coriah always influenced me to start working on my game, so being around her and Corey has just made it so much better,” Wynter said. “I still get a lot of feedback and information from both, so they have always been a big influence on me. I am fortunate to have a cousin who is now playing college basketball, and an uncle that played in the NBA, so that helps me a lot.”

Wynter and Corey work out together most days and often take to the court for some added lessons.

“I love Corey, he’s like one of my best friends,” she said. “He has helped me with the mental aspects of the game and of life. I haven’t really watched too much film on him, but he gives me a lot of tips. He tells me what he would have done in certain situations and what I could have done better. So, whatever he tells me, I just try to put that in my game and do it.”

Wynter made a splash as a sophomore last season, averaging 12.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals. But it was in the state semifinals against Conway that she stepped up in a big way. With Fayetteville down by two with 2.8 seconds left in regulation, she stepped to the line and calmly made two free throws to send the game to overtime. With time running down in the extra period, she sank the winning basket to send the Bulldogs to the championship game — which they ended up losing to a stacked Fort Smith Northside team.

Three weeks ago, she led Fayetteville back from an 18-point, fourth-quarter deficit against Bentonville, which eventually won the game in overtime.

“Wynter’s got a lot to her game,” said Rimmer. “She’s good off the bounce, her 3-point shot has gotten much, much better, and when she decides to go get an offensive rebound, there is not a lot the other team can do about it. She’s just so strong and athletic. And it is always so important for me and her teammates to always have that confident scorer on the court. When we need a bucket, that’s usually who we are looking for.”

Yet the humble youngster doesn’t consider herself any more important to the team than anyone else, another trait that makes her special.

“I don’t look at it that I am any different than any of my teammates,” she said. “I look at it as our team is together and I am just one part of that. I feel like all of us can play, so we are just trying to put it together on the court. I put my trust into my teammates over anybody else. Even if I have an open shot, if I see someone else with an open shot, I will pass it to them, because I have trust in what they can do. I think we learn something in every game and that allows us to take it to the next game and continue to get better.”

That’s why Rimmer calls her the consummate teammate, her ability to lead by example and make the players around her better.

 “Wynter is very laid back and a friend to everybody,” he added. “She likes to have fun, but rarely does she get loud. She is so soft-spoken. Very humble. If she ever gets upset, it is usually at herself because she is not playing well.”

And when the game tips off, her uncle is usually sitting courtside to watch his niece play, always willing to offer up any support he can.

“She’s just kind of a different breed, because she never loses confidence in herself, and she’s just got a mindset of playing smart on the floor and doing what the team needs her to do,” Corey said. “It’s been fun helping raise Wynter all these years. She’s come a long way, but she realizes she’s still got a lot of hard work ahead of her. I’ve just always tried to lead by example, like sharing some of the things I’ve had to deal with in my life and just trying to prepare her for it.”

He is also appreciative of what the Fayetteville program has provided for his niece and his daughter.

“I think the Fayetteville program and Coach Rimmer do a lot for these girls, on and off the floor, to help these kids succeed,” he added. “When I saw what they were doing for Coriah, and how they treated her, I wanted Wynter to be a part of that.”


Wynter eventually wants to play at the next level, like her cousin. But right now, her focus is on the Bulldogs and helping her team reach the ultimate pinnacle before she departs.

“A state championship is the only thing I want, and I want it bad,” she said with another bright smile. “Being at Fayetteville has definitely made me a better person, on and off the court. This year we don’t have what we had last year, but I have just tried to take the things I learned last year and bring it into this year. We are just continuing to play hard and get better, and hopefully turn this back around.”

Fayetteville wraps up the regular season this week hoping to hit its stride before the postseason gets underway.

“The results may not show it, but we are a much better team right now than what we were a month ago,” Rimmer said. “And I seriously believe in our group of girls, and I know they believe in each other. And I feel like we are going to be a tough out in the state tournament, and whoever gets matched up with us is going to have a chore.”