By this point everybody has heard the news of Montana men’s basketball coach Wayne Tinkle’s recent hire by Oregon State.
Tinkle takes a winning history to a Beavers program hoping to do much more of that in the not-so distant future. But will he also take his son, current Missoula Hellgate junior and big-time prospect Tres, with him?
Tres Tinkle helped Hellgate to a State AA basketball championship two seasons ago and the Knights very nearly repeated in March, a season in which Tres was named Montana’s Gatorade Player of the Year.
The 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward has already drawn major interest from schools around the country and offers from the likes of USC, Utah and Boston College. Then last week we found out the 4-star recruit from the Class of 2015 pulled an invite to the NBPA Top 100 Camp, right around the time he was in Southern Cal.
2015 f Tres Tinkle Hellgate Montana will visit USC this morning. One of top f’s in the country. Recently invited to NBA top 100.
— Earl Watson Elite (@earlwatsonelite) May 15, 2014
Some are speculating that Wayne Tinkle’s hire may give OSU the inside edge to get Tres in two years, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The most immediate question is this: Will the Knight’s star follow his father to Oregon, or will he finish his prep career in Missoula?
It’s too early to tell, Tres told the Missoulian Tuesday via Twitter.
“I’m not sure yet,” he wrote. “Still trying to figure it out. I wanna stay in Missoula.”
He had a similar message for Scout.com earlier this week, though that also pertained to potential recruitment to Oregon St. Basically, Tres said, he’ll let things play out before making a decision.
Wayne’s hire by the Beavers does makes the school “stand out to me more, but as of now, I’m still open to anything,” he told Scout.com. “It would be awesome to play for my dad, but he knows what’s best for me, and if that’s going somewhere else or playing for him, he’ll support me all the way.”
It’s not really a question of exposure, though high school ball in Oregon would certainly give him more of that. Tres has been quite visibly on the map for years thanks to his summer ball outings, impressive performances that have continued again this spring.
In Corvallis, Oregon, he’d have the chance to play for one of state’s Class 5A schools, Corvallis High School or Crescent Valley High School. Corvallis was 11-13 last season while Crescent Valley was 15-9, per the OSAA.
There’s also the option of Class 3A Santiam Christian, sort of the Missoula Loyola Sacred Heart of the Corvallis area, should the private school route appeal.
If he stays, the Hellgate Knights could expect another season contending for the State AA title in Montana. He averaged 21.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.8 steals per game last season.
Without Tres the Knights would be down four starters from the 2013-14 season, only point guard Devin Bray returning as a senior. Montana would also have lost one of its top basketball recruits in recent memory.