Oregon State was an awful team last year. No easy way to put it. By record, the Beavers were the fourth worst team in Division 1. This certainly wasn’t because of poor play from Tres Tinkle. The sophomore small forward only played in 6 games in 2017 after breaking his wrist early on. Tinkle being healthy wouldn’t have saved Oregon State’s season, but the results would’ve surely been better than the laughingstock of Pac-12. But, a healthy Tinkle to go along with a much improved supporting cast in 2018 could end up being a solid group in the Pac-12.
Even though the Beavers only went 2-4 with a relatively easy schedule during the 6 games Tinkle played, it was apparent that he was the focal point on offense. Before he went down, Tinkle was averaging 20.2 points-per-game and 8.3 rebounds. This small sample size included three double-doubles and highs of 31 points and 15 rebounds. Losing him for the season was a blow not only to the Beavers’ talent, but to their spark as well. Having Tinkle for the full season will give OSU a chance to take anyone down on any given night.
If Tinkle had kept his play up for the entire season, it would have been a huge jump from his freshman year. He was scoring 7.1 ppg and 2.9 rpg more than 2016. This was an impressive improvement in his numbers in just seven more minutes. Since he shot similar percentages as the year before, it can easily be assumed that he would’ve been able to keep his numbers high throughout the season. Tinkle even putting up slightly worse stats in 2018 while recovering from his injury would still make him Oregon State’s best player.
Tinkle will have an opportunity to be the leader of an improved team. He will be able to play alongside the players that improved when they took larger roles in his absence, such as fellow juniors Stephen Thompson Jr. and Drew Eubanks. He will also take a role of guidance in helping to develop incoming freshman Ethan Thompson. Thompson adds a fourth offensive threat to Oregon State, which will definitely win the team its fair share of games.
Tinkle will have plenty of pressure going into next season. He has NBA talent, even if it is just that of a second rounder, so he will be expected to have a great performance night in and night out. Although he’s used to it by now, being the head coach’s son also adds some extra pressure to follow his father’s guidance and buy into his strategy. At the same time, the Beaver’s horrible 2017 season could give him plenty of room for mistakes, as the expectations will be lower. But overall, Tres Tinkle is one of the most talented offensive threats in the Pac-12, and will be a player to keep an eye on in 2018.