After losing Griz head coach Wayne Tinkle to Oregon State in the spring, the next hardwoods question for Missoula is if it would also lose Tres Tinkle to Corvallis, Oregon.
However Hellgate high school received good news this week as Tres Tinkle confirmed with NBC Montana on Monday night that he will be returning to the Garden City for his senior year.
“I just felt like I was leaving too much behind in Missoula for my last year and really wanted to finish what I started here with basketball along with school and the community,” explained Tinkle on Tuesday.
Tinkle needs little introduction when it comes to sports fans in Montana. The talented 6-foot-7 forward was named Gatorade Player of the Year this past season. Tinkle averaged 21.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.8 steals per game as a junior for the Hellgate Knights.
As the youngest athlete in his talented basketball family, Tres is making big headlines and is listed at #45 in the country on ESPN's top 100 high school recruiting list.
“It will be tough being away from my family but they are my biggest supporters and want me to be happy,” said Tinkle about being separated from his father Wayne and mother Lisa (former Lady Griz star) who will settle in for their first year in Corvallis, Oregon. “Whatever it takes we will make time to be together to see each other.”
After leading the Knights to a state championship in 2012, Hellgate came up one game short this past March, losing to Helena Capital 51-47 in the title game.
When NBC Montana caught up with Tinkle back in June, the hardwoods star had not made any type of decision on his senior year but was already alluding to unfinished business that he wanted to take care of with his Hellgate teammates:
“I talked to coach Hayes and my team and obviously we want to get another shot at a state championship just because we fell a little short this year,” said Tinkle during an interview back in June. “It was kind of a reality check that we have to keep working.”
The family has not made mention to any specific arrangements but the Tinkles have many close friends and relatives that could host Tinkle for his final year of high school.
“All I really want to do is just win with my team I've been playing with since the 4th grade,” said Tinkle. “This year we have all four of our transfers coming back and so I think it's kind of special. With everything we've gone through and all the criticism we've overcame, we want to make it a good senior year for all of us."
The Hellgate Knights will be searching for their sixth boys basketball state title when they hit the hardwoods this coming winter.