What makes Tinkles tick?
CORVALLIS -- Wayne Tinkle has lured some good players to Oregon State during his four years at the coaching helm, but he didn't have to walk across the street to land his best recruit.
Tres Tinkle is not only Tinkle's only son, but he is Oregon State's best player and the most versatile performer in the Pac-12 this season.
The 6-8 redshirt sophomore is the only player who ranks among the top 12 in scoring (18.3 points per game, sixth), rebounds (7.3, 10th) and assists (3.4, 12th). Tinkle also is third in the league in free-throw percentage (.880) and ninth in steals (1.4). He is shooting .473 from the field and .362 from 3-point range.
After sitting out most of last season with a fractured right wrist, the left-handed small forward has provided outstanding play and leadership as the Beavers (11-8 overall, 3-4 in Pac-12 play) have turned things around after a disastrous 5-27 campaign a year ago.
Tres, 21, is the third of three children born to Wayne and Lisa Tinkle, who were outstanding players at Montana. Their oldest daughter, Joslyn, played at Stanford, and their middle child, Elle, played at Gonzaga.
The male Tinkles sat down for a joint interview session with the Portland Tribune as they prepared for Saturday's rematch with Oregon at Eugene. The Beavers beat the Ducks 76-64 at Corvallis on Jan. 5.
Tribune: Tres, how much did your father work with you on your game when you were growing up in Missoula, Montana, where he was head coach at the University of Montana?
Tres: A lot — as much as he could, because he was busy coaching and was on on the road a lot. My parents never wanted to force me into the game. They wanted it to come naturally. Really, Dad wanted me to be a baseball player. He was kind of pushing me toward that. But with his career, my mom's career and watching my sisters, basketball was my passion. Whenever he could, we'd go shoot around, play H-O-R-S-E in the driveway, things like that. Not until eighth grade, when he knew I wanted to take it serious, came the critiques after watching my game video. That's when the coach came out in him and he tried to help me develop my game.
Wayne: We did that with all of our kids. We wanted them to play as many sports and activities as possible. We felt like keeping them active and playing multiple sports would develop all of their skills. You see kids get a lot of pressure from parents and burn out by the time they get to high school. We wanted to make sure that didn't happen with our crew.
Tribune: Tres, how old were you when you finally beat your dad one-on-one?
Tres: I'm not sure. We haven't played in a long time.
Wayne: After Tres got to the age where I knew he'd beat me, I probably wouldn't play him one-on-one anymore (laughs). He has gotten me in H-O-R-S-E the last few years. He has flipped that around, for sure.
Tribune: Tres, was it a done deal you were going to play for your dad? It was after your junior season in high school that he was hired by Oregon State.
Tres: When he was still at Montana, I was pretty open (to playing elsewhere). But playing for Dad was something we always wanted to do, thinking how cool it would be. Just like my sisters, you want to experience the best opportunity for you, the best fit, and to get to the top level that you can. When it came down to it, he wouldn't have wanted me to settle. He'd have wanted me to test myself and go to the highest level I could go.
Wayne: I always wanted to coach him. I had some people recruiting him trying to persuade me otherwise. I always used to joke with him that he wasn't tough enough to me. He was always one of the toughest guys on his team, but I was always planting that seed to continue to grow and get tougher mentally. I still believe he would have had a hard time saying no to me if I'd stayed at Montana, but I wasn't putting that pressure on him. If he'd gone there, it would have been a big fish/small pond type of thing. But (Wayne and Lisa) were very diligent in just answering questions and not steering him in any direction. We did that with the girls, too. They were happy with their decisions. Hopefully, Tres will be able to say the same thing when his time is up.
Tribune: Tres, how has it been playing for your dad?
Tres: It's a lot better now. It was tough at first. He's not the type of coach who is going to sugarcoat anything. He knows that's not going to be the best for my potential and where I want to be. He knows my goals (to make it to the NBA). We've talked about it many times. He always says there's a method to his madness. As I'm getting older, I'm realizing that. Being a freshman, he wanted me to earn everything. I wouldn't want it any other way, but when I was younger, I wasn't mature enough to understand where he was coming from. There was a lot of talking with him at dinner at home.
Wayne: Our relationship has gotten much better through some of the hard times. Tres probably saw me as "Dad" way more than "coach" when he was a freshman, and even going into the start of last year. There's a period at the beginning of each year where we have to get through these things. I'm really amped up at the beginning of a season, with all the new guys. I'm trying to put them through hellfire and brimstone to prepare them for the long haul. Through a lot of discussions, a lot of nights at dinner when he didn't feel like talking to me and a lot of counseling from his mom, I know I had to give him room to be a college kid and not suffocate him. But I also need to make sure I'm patting him on the back when he is doing well, so the only thing he hears isn't criticism. He needs to see when I have "coach" goggles on, and when I have "Dad" goggles on. I feel like we've gotten a lot closer than we were through his high school years.
Tribune: Wayne, do you have to be harder on Tres than on the rest of your players?
Wayne: I haven't, just because I know how tough he is. If he were a pantywaist and didn't play hard, I probably would have felt like I had to do that. Or the opposite — treat him with kid gloves. He probably thinks I was (tougher on him) early on, and maybe there was a period where I felt I needed to make him earn it.
Tribune: Tres, have you felt that way?
Tres: To an extent, yes. A lot comes down to doing what I want for myself.
Wayne: You're supposed to be hardest on your best guys. Drew (Eubanks) is another guy (OSU coaches) have been hard on. We're like that on the guys who can go the furthest in the game, and the ones who can handle it. It's only because we know what their potential is and where their goals are. We have to do our job to make those two points meet.
Tres: He knows what we're capable of doing. He's trying to get the point across. (The coaches) push us to be the best we can be for the team. He also does a good job of giving us praise when it's due, or showing us how much trust he has in us.
Tribune: Tres, how do you feel you've played this season?
Tres: I'm solid where it's at, but I'm not satisfied with my play. I'm doing fairly well, but I could be doing better. As much work as I put in the offseason, I should be shooting a little better, especially on 3's. This is the first time I'm really taking care of the ball — sometimes I have too many turnovers. Those will take care of themselves as time goes on. I'm maybe overly excited at times to be back playing.
Wayne: Having missed so much time last year, I was impressed he started playing as well as he did early in the season. I love the leadership he's starting to show. He's comfortable in his skin now. He has earned the right to lead by the way he goes about his business and his effort level. There are times where he has been guilty of trying too hard. He wants us to turn things around and get back to where we were two years ago. We'd rather have that than having to kick a guy in the butt to get him going. It's better to have to say "whoa" than "giddy-up."
Tribune: Do you guys have family time away from the gym? Tres, you rent a house and live with three roommates, including teammate Kendal Manuel. Do you make it over to your parents' house much?
Tres: We hang out as a family. We try to stay away from the competitive stuff as much as we can, because it can get out of hand. When we're just at the house, my dad and I try to stay away from basketball at times. We'll have dinner, watch home videos, take the dogs for a walk, play card games. I do my laundry there and let my mom cook meals. I'm not going to lie: She does a good job of taking care of me.
Tribune: Tres, what have you learned from your dad?
Tres: Discipline and accountability. He has always instilled that in all three of us kids, to have an image and use our brain. Through our lives, that can get you so many opportunities by the type of person you are and having high expectations for yourself. He wants good players, but he wants more the best people playing for him. If you take that mind-set off the court, it's going to carry onto the court as well. And it will get you ready for life after basketball.
Tribune: Wayne, have you learned something from Tres?
Wayne: I think I have. At times, I get too locked into the end result on the court, and I forget about enjoying the steps along the way. At times, I need to let Tres be a kid, and I need to enjoy what we're going through. It's been really hard what we've been through the last year and a half. Those of us who have stuck together, we haven't pushed panic buttons as a staff. We haven't cut corners. We're sticking to doing things the way we know is going to be an invaluable lesson.
Tribune: Tres, what's something about your dad the public might not know?
Tres: Well, he's a big Chicago Cubs fan. He's a huge baseball fan in general. That was his first love. Mom does most of the cooking, but when he does, he can cook. When it's just him at home, he'll throw steaks or shrimp on the grill, put some spices together. He'll cook breakfast sandwiches. He doesn't do it often, but it's good.
Tribune: Wayne, what might the public not know about Tres?
Wayne: People see how hard he plays, but they might not know how dedicated he is. He never had a sip of alcohol until he was 21. It was neat that we were able to share a beer together on his 21st birthday. Tres is very headstrong. If you question what he stands for, it doesn't matter who you are, he's going to call you out. That's a really good trait. I wish I had that. I love his will. You're not going to take him away from what he believes in. He has a great heart, and he does a lot for other people. I'm really proud of him for all of that.
Tribune: Tres, will you be back playing at Oregon State next season?
Tres: That's the plan.
Wayne: He has unfinished business.
Tres: There are a lot of things I've missed out on, a lot of things I want to experience. It's a long process. (The NBA) is where I want to be, but if I try to get to it too fast, it's only going to hurt me.
Wayne: Lisa and I try to help him keep it in perspective. When you handle your business the right way, that stuff all takes care of itself. I'm old-school. Getting your degree is such an important thing, but we can't keep guys from an incredible opportunity. If it's a legitimate deal, we'll talk about it and make the right decision. Tres wants what's best for Oregon State, because that's who he is committed to, and he's hungry to do it with this team moving forward. When the time is right (to declare for the NBA), it will be obvious.
Tribune: Tres, what do you admire most about your dad?
Tres: A lot of the traits he said I have, I get from him — probably more so than from my mom. My competitive nature comes from him. I'm very competitive, but he might have me on that. I've matured, but I still have a ways to go. Some day, when I look back at everything he has taught me, I'll really appreciate it. He has given me my work ethic, my dedication. Even though there have been some bumps along the way, he wants the best for me. Right now, things are paying off. I've learned from him being a dad and doing things the right way, and raising us kids in such a fashion that has led to three great athletes, but also great people.
Tribune: Oregon State hasn't swept the season series from Oregon in eight years. The Beavers have a chance to accomplish that Saturday in Eugene. What would it mean to get that done?
Wayne: (The Ducks) are a very talented team. We haven't performed well down there, but we have a different team this year. If we can play the way we need to play, this gives us an opportunity to win. Dana (Altman) does a great job. He's a heck of a coach. They have a lot of talent. It's going to be a heck of a challenge. But I like the group we have. We played well the last two times on the road at Arizona and Arizona State. We just have to close it this time out.
Tres: It would mean a lot, seeing how it went down there last year (an 85-43 Oregon win). There are a lot of feelings built up for me over that, and my teammates, too. (A season sweep) hasn't been done for a while. We're trying to get back to where people respect us and know we're capable of beating anybody. It was a great feeling to get them here this season. To get them at their place would be even better.