Tinkles: First family of college hoops
Tres Tinkle's final months in an Oregon State uniform are winding down. And while the traditional story line is about the end to a career of one of the greatest Beavers ever, it also should include discussion about one of the great families in NCAA Division I college basketball history.
There were the Barrys — father Rick and sons Scooter, Jon, Brent (who played at OSU), Drew and Canyon — who accumulated a total of 6,725 points and 2,662 rebounds in their college careers.
There were the Currys (Dell, Steph and Seth), who piled up 7,125 points and 1,481 rebounds (they were all guards) during their time in college ball.
But they're no match for the Tinkles, who include Wayne Tinkle and Lisa McLeod Tinkle (both Montana), Tres' parents, and Joslyn (Stanford) and Elle Tinkle (Gonzaga), his sisters.
Between them, the Tinkles have combined for 6,970 points and 3,581 rebounds. Tres has at least 15 more games this season to add to those numbers, so the family scoring figure will likely go beyond that of the Currys. The Tinkles already are way out ahead in the rebounding department.
This is the first family of college basketball.
"It's been an amazing ride for all of us," said Joslyn, 29. "We've gotten to do a lot of really cool things in the sport we love."
"For us all to be able to play at pretty prestigious programs and have success and get our degrees — that's been super fun for us," said Elle, 26.
The most remarkable thing about the Tinkles, though, is the team success they experienced in college. They own a combined win-loss record of 529-159, a 77-percent victory rate. The women were a staggering 372-65, an 87-percent winning clip.
"We all have done well in Division I basketball, which is saying a lot," said Tres, 23. "Credit to my parents for how they raised us, and to us kids for holding ourselves to high standards."
Wayne and Lisa are both members of the Montana Hall of Fame and are still among the top 10 in scoring and rebounding more than three decades after they quit playing for the Grizzlies. Joslyn was an all-Pac-12 selection at Stanford, playing for teams that reached the Final Four four times and the NCAA Championship game twice. Elle was an all-West Coast Conference choice at Gonzaga, where she won four conference regular-season titles and made four NCAA Tournament appearances.
Then there is Tres, a two-time all-Pac-12 pick who is still adding to the family legacy while moving up the ranks on the Oregon State career scoring and rebound lists.
After the Beavers split games with Arizona and Arizona State last weekend, the 6-7 senior southpaw has moved past Mel Counts and into third place on the scoring list with 1,979 points. Tinkle trails only Gary Payton (2,172) and Steve Johnson (2,035) and needs to score 194 more points to become the school's all-time leading scorer.
Tinkle now has 779 career rebounds, six shy of No. 4 Johnson (785) on the OSU list. He'll never catch Counts (1,378), but needs 102 more rebounds to climb past A.C. Green (880) and Dave Gambee (828) into second place.
Coach Tinkle's only son hasn't played in the Final Four like Counts or been on a No. 1 team like Green or won a conference championship like Payton. He has carved his niche, though, among the pantheon of greats in the 119-year annals of Oregon State basketball.
Meet the family
WAYNE TINKLE, turns 54 on Jan. 26, 6-10 forward, Montana. 1985-89. Teams had an overall record of 88-44. Two-time all-Big Sky selection, team MVP as junior and senior. Member of Montana Athletic Hall of Fame. Seventh on school's career scoring list, fourth in rebounds. Played 10 years of pro ball — seven years in Spain and one each in Sweden, Greece and Italy.
College points: 1,500
LISA (McLeod) TINKLE, age 52, 6-2 center, Montana, 1985-89. Three-year starter. Teams had an overall record of 108-15, won four straight Big Sky titles and played in three NCAA Tournaments. Big Sky MVP as a senior and three-time all-league. Was school's career scoring leader when she graduated. Member of Montana Athletic Hall of Fame. Fourth on school's career scoring list, sixth in rebounds.
JOSLYN TINKLE, age 29, 6-3 forward, Stanford, 2009-13. McDonald's All-American in high school. Played on the U.S. women's national U-18 team that won gold at the FIBA Americas Championship in 2008. Stanford teams had an overall record of 137-10, including 71-1 in Pac-10/12 play. Reached Final Four all four seasons and made NCAA Cchampionship game as a freshman and senior. All-Pac-12 selection as a senior. Ranks eighth in career blocked shots with 150. Played one season with the WNBA Seattle Storm and three years professionally in Hungary, Turkey and Australia.
ELLE TINKLE, age 26, 6-2 guard/forward, Gonzaga, 2012-17. Teams had an overall record of 127-40 in her five years, winning four conference regular-season titles and making four NCAA Tournament appearances. Was first-team all-WCC as a junior and second-team all-WCC as a senior. Ranks eighth in career steals with 187.
TRES TINKLE, age 23, 6-7 forward, Oregon State, 2015-20. Teams have an overall record of 68-49, including 2-4 in the six games he played during his redshirt 2016-17 season. A two-time all-Pac-12 selection. Ranks fourth on school's career scoring and fifth in rebounds.
The Tinkle story begins in Missoula in 1985, when Wayne — a redshirt freshman on the Montana men's team — laid eyes on Lisa McLeod, a high school senior who had signed a letter-of-intent to play for the Grizzlies.
"We were at a postseason banquet for the men's and women's teams," Wayne said. "The women's coach was introducing the recruits — back then, you could do that — and up there walks Lisa. Right away, I had a weird feeling, like, 'that's going to be my girlfriend.'"
"I was kind of clueless at that point," Lisa said. "But right off the bat, I noticed him."
"She had a boyfriend at the time," Wayne said. "It took me about a month to break them up. We were first introduced at Stockman's Bar and Grill. I didn't want her to know I had a crush on her, so I just gave her a head nod. She thought I was arrogant."
The Tinkles, boyfriend and girlfriend, wound up starring for the Grizzlies men's and women's teams from 1985-89. Wayne was a two-time all-Big Sky pick and the team MVP as a junior and senior. Lisa was a three-year starter who played on teams that won four straight Big Sky titles, participated in three NCAA Tournaments and amassed a record of 108-15. She was a three-time all-league choice, the Big Sky MVP as a senior and Montana's career scoring leader when she graduated.
Wayne finished his career with 1,500 points and 836 rebounds. Lisa was tantalizingly close with 1,470 points and 830 rebounds.
"Eerie, almost," Lisa said. "He got me in both categories. But he was a much better player than I ever was."
Not true, Wayne insisted.
"Lisa was a stud," he said. "She was a skinny 6-2, but Coach (Robin) Selbig always said she was one of the toughest post players he ever had. She was wiry, but relentless, a great rebounder and defender, and she could score. She was a great competitor, gritty and tough as nails."
Wayne, a 6-10 post, was a force, too, a capable scorer and rebounder with a strong inside/outside game. He married Lisa in 1989 and then embarked on a 10-year pro career overseas that began in Sweden, with stops in Spain, Greece and Italy. Joslyn was born in Sweden, but the other two kids were born in Missoula, where the Tinkles would return each summer.
Whether in Europe or back home in Montana, the Tinkle kids always had a ball in their hands.
"When we were overseas, Wayne played once a week and traveled every other week, so there was plenty of family time together," Lisa said. "We were always playing tennis or playing catch. Growing up, the kids knew that's what you did for fun. They tried every sport when they were young."
"When we were toddlers, we had tennis balls, softballs, footballs, basketballs all around the house," Tres said. "That's what drove our passion for sports. Up till high school, my sisters played a variety of sports, like volleyball or track. I played football and baseball until high school."
"Our parents put us in every sport imaginable," Elle said. "We weren't force-fed basketball. It just wound up being what we all chose as our sport in the end."
"Once Dad got into coaching at Montana, our mom, being the stud she is (there's that word again), coached all three of us kids," Joslyn said. "The most important part, they never forced it on us. They never shoved the basketball down our throat. We learned to love it at a young age, and we were all self-motivated. That's what was really cool."
The Tinkles returned to the states for good in 2000, when Joslyn was 9, Elle 6 and Tres 3. Soon thereafter, the kids were on their way to basketball bliss.
"It was a thrill seeing them progress from playing in those little 3-on-3 games to YMCA ball to the AAU ranks and high school," said Wayne, by then an assistant coach at Montana before taking over the head coaching reins in 2006. "Our summer vacations were me recruiting and tying in the kids' tournaments as well. We'd load up our Suburban and drive to tournaments up and down the West Coast. That was our July for a lot of years."
Joslyn, a McDonald's All-American as a senior in high school — to this day, the only one from Montana, boy or girl — was joined that year by freshman Elle on the Big Sky High team that won the state championship.
"Seeing them play together that year was one of the highlights of my life," Wayne said. "Joslyn was the best player in the state. Elle started from Day One. They played Butte High for the state championship in Butte. Elle held Lexie Nelson, the No. 2 scorer in the state, to three points in the first three quarters."
A spellbound observer of the girls' exploits was their younger brother.
"My parents had both played college basketball, and then seeing my sisters focus on basketball — I didn't want to be the one to take a different route," Tres said. "It was what I wanted to do, anyway. I had a tremendous love and passion for the game."
Tres learned the game not only from his parents, but from his older sisters.
"We'd play horse, one-on-one, cutthroat, 21, whether in the driveway or going to the Montana gym," he said. "They used to kick my butt when I was younger. Dad used to whup on me back in the day. Same with my sisters and my mom. I took a lot of 'L's' growing up."
That would change. The girls went off to stardom in college. Then it was Tres' turn, following his dad to Oregon State — a very lucky twist for Beaver Nation.
Once his father went to the Pac-12, there was no question Tres would follow him to Corvallis. Tres moved into the starting lineup midway through his freshman year and has been there since. But there were some rocky roads along the way.
"It hasn't been the easiest relationship," Elle said. "When you first get to college, you're in shock over how tough the coach can be. My dad's a tough coach as it is. That's where Tres was. To navigate that was hard."
"Early on, it was tough," Wayne said. "Tres is the most competitive one in the family — at times to a fault. Coaching or constructive criticism gets under his skin at times because he's so competitive.
"I couldn't change who I was. He had a hard time understanding (criticism) was coming from Coach Tinkle, not from Dad. It was never about attitude or effort; it was execution."
Wayne remembers a practice session during Tres' freshman season. The coach felt his son had been reluctant to shoot.
"I got frustrated and told the other guys, 'Don't pass him the ball; he doesn't want to shoot it,'" Wayne said. "He needed to be who he was. I needed him to be aggressive.
"I was getting after him just like everybody else, but what I wasn't doing was praising him when he was doing well, like I was everybody else. There was some resentment from him about that. I had to learn, you can't muffle the praise if you're going to bark at him when something is wrong."
Eventually, the two came to a meeting of the minds.
"Ther were some nights when he came over to the house for Sunday dinner, we didn't have a lot of conversation," Wayne said. "But the last 2 1/2 years, it's been great. It's helped me see the game a little bit differently as a coach, too. It's been a fun growth process. We've always agreed that even through the highs and lows, what a great experience it has been, that we're able to go through it together."
"Wayne and Tres are at a great spot now," Lisa said. "Through the ups and downs, they've always had each other's back. Wayne always knows what he's going to get from Tres. Every day he comes to practice and works hard and does his best. They've developed a close relationship through it all. That's the most important thing for me to see."
All of the Tinkles have a tight relationship. Basketball has provided some of the stitching.
"We have that together as a family," Joslyn said. "It may seem cheesy to some people, but we all played basketball at a high level. It's something really special we've shared and have been able to bond together and love the sport together."
So much so that the Tinkle girls have chosen to live in the state. Joslyn is working in marketing for a wine distributor in Portland. Elle is a nurse at Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver. They recently bought a house together in Southeast Portland.
"We've made it this far," Joslyn joked.
Said Elle: "So far, we haven't killed each other."
"We wanted to be close to Mom and Dad and support Dad's team and watch our brother play," Joslyn said.
The sisters have attracted some attention from television cameras as they cheer for the Beavers and razz the officials from their courtside seats at Gill Coliseum.
"That's something we're not always thrilled about — being on the TV, going nuts on the sidelines," Joslyn said with a laugh. "It's hard for us to keep quiet — I don't know why.
"I guess it goes back to us being competitive, and we genuinely love and support one another. Tres was following me around for years, and now I'm paying back. The refs don't always love us, but it's in good fun."
When Tres decided to come back for his senior year last spring, everyone in his family was excited.
"Jos and I started crying immediately," Elle said. "We were selfishly hoping to watch him for another year (at Oregon State), but it wasn't an easy decision.
"It showed his maturity. He wants to grow more as a player and leave a legacy on this program. There's really nothing like college basketball. The next level is exciting, but it's ultimately a business. There's not the camaraderie you have at the college level. We're happy he's being able to enjoy this last year, to be with his lifelong friends and hopefully get to a tournament. It's been a blast watching it unfold."
Tres has bragging rights over his family members. He has already scored more points in his career than did his parents or siblings.
"I hang it over their heads," he joked. "I have them beat there, and most points in a single game (his high is 32). Any time we talk about that as a family, I make sure to let them know that. And it goes in one ear, out the other."
Nobody challenges Tres in one-on-one anymore.
"We haven't played in a long time," he said of his sisters and mother. "They're afraid to now. Now it's 'Horse' and shooting games, where I can't use my strength against them. Over the holidays, when everybody's here, we'll go to the gym and get some shots up and wind up playing a game of 7-Up, Horse, Pig.
"Dad and I haven't played one-on-one in a long time, either. He's so tall and big, it's hard to get around him. But if we take it out the 3-point line, it's a no-brainer."
Tres said he has learned a very important lesson from his father.
"My dad's philosophy is based on getting what you earn," he said "That's been our family motto, the way to live by. If you want something, you have to work to get it done. It's not going to be handed to you. That's worked for everyone in our family."
Athletic achievement has happened to the Tinkles at the highest levels of college basketball. But the mother said her heart is "bursting with pride" over something more important.
"The kids were all good players," Lisa said, "but they're good people, too. They were good teammates. Their teammates loved playing with them. They've been positive role models. They didn't get into extracurriculars that a lot of other kids did growing up. They always had a focus, had goals.
"People ask, 'How did you get three kids through high school without falling into those things?' Well, you stay involved. They had goals for themselves, and we had expectations for them. They weren't rule-breakers. We were a little bit lucky."
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