CORVALLIS — Tres Tinkle is still seeking a finish line in college basketball.
After he missed Oregon State’s historic run to the NCAA Tournament with a foot injury during his freshman year and sat out almost all of last season with a wrist injury, Tinkle is a sophomore once again as he looks to put aside the idea he is prone to injury and play a full season for the Beavers.
“The foot was something from high school I didn’t take care of, so that was my fault,” Tinkle said. “The wrist was a freak accident. So at times it was tough, but I can’t think like that. I have to keep playing and be positive and say ‘No more of that.’ I am healthy now, feeling good and trying to have my best season. If I let injuries into my mind, it will affect how I play and I don’t want that.”
Tinkle opened last season as the Pac-12 player of the week and averaged 20.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.2 steals in six games before suffering a broken wrist that left him sidelined for the rest of the season. He received a medical redshirt and is off to a similar start in his second sophomore season with averages of 21.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 3.3 assists for the Beavers (2-1), who are headed to the Advocare Invitational in Orlando, Florida, where they open up against St. John’s on Thursday.
“I feel like this is my first true year to show what I am capable of doing,” Tinkle said. “Being able to work on my game and have my body where I want it to be, I’m excited. Now it is just time to stay healthy and have a great year.”
Tinkle suffered a foot injury during his senior season at Hellgate High School in Missoula, Montana, that lingered into his first season at Oregon State. The injury flared back up and forced him to miss the final five games of his freshman year, including OSU’s first NCAA Tournament game since 1990.
That led to another offseason recovering from injury, but Tinkle was healthy for his sophomore year until he broke his right wrist against Fresno State that forced him to miss the final 26 games.
“Tres is healthy and he’s on a mission,” said his dad, OSU coach Wayne Tinkle. “He had a great offseason because for the first time, he was able to work on his total body.”
Tres Tinkle’s offseason workouts actually began while his teammates were finishing off last year’s 5-27 debacle.
“When I first came here I had the stress fracture in my foot and couldn’t work on my legs, and obviously couldn’t shoot, and then it was the same thing when I broke it at the end of my freshman year,” he recalled. “All last season, I was able to work on my legs, getting them stronger than they have ever been. As my wrist healed, I was able to get strength in my upper body back so it was the first time being on the court for individual workouts. I tried to do as much as I could to make up for lost time. At times I was working out four times a day with all types of people because I wanted to take reps and work on my game.”
Added Wayne Tinkle: “At times, we had to make sure he was not overdoing it.”
The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Tinkle shot 44.2 percent from the field, including 31.4 on 3-pointers, in 33 games during the past two seasons. He is 23-for-39 from the field in three games this year and made half of his 12 3-point attempts.
“One of the main things I worked on was to make my shot more consistent,” he said. “In my freshman and sophomore years, I was not shooting great from 3-point range and that came down to having just a month to prepare. Now I feel like I am shooting better than ever.”