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New York Times Tinkle Family Article


Well-known member

Fab Five, All Family

Young Kwak/Associated Press

Published: March 20, 2013

SAN JOSE, Calif. — If the N.C.A.A. held a coed basketball tournament of families — your five against their five, all the way through the bracket — the Tinkles of Missoula, Mont., would be the runaway favorite, seeded first over all.

“We’re pretty solid all around, one through five,” Joslyn Tinkle said. “I don’t think there’s a weak link.”

Wayne Tinkle, a former professional player, is the men’s basketball coach at Montana, which plays fourth-seeded Syracuse on Thursday in the N.C.A.A. tournament. His wife, Lisa, starred for Montana and was inducted into the university’s Hall of Fame in 2011.

Joslyn, 22, is the second-leading scorer for top-seeded Stanford, a championship contender in the women’s N.C.A.A. tournament. Elle, 19, is a highly regarded freshman at Gonzaga, also a tournament team. And Tres, already 6-foot-6 at the age of 16, was an all-state player this season as a sophomore, leading his high school team to a state championship two weekends ago.

Together, the 383 combined inches of Tinkles must be the most talented basketball family in the country.

“Our size alone would be pretty intimidating,” said Lisa, a 6-2 47-year-old.

Two generations of playing and coaching are colliding this weekend for the Tinkles. Montana (25-6), winner of the Big Sky Conference and seeded 13th, was sent here to open the men’s tournament. An upset of Syracuse would advance the Grizzlies to a Saturday game against either California or Nevada-Las Vegas.

Less than 20 miles away, Stanford will begin its expected march toward the women’s Final Four on Sunday against Tulsa. If the Cardinal and Gonzaga, seeded 12th in its region of the women’s tournament, should each win twice, they would meet next week in Spokane, Wash., Wayne Tinkle’s hometown.

“If you’re a basketball player, you love March Madness,” said Joslyn, a 6-3 forward averaging 11.8 points per game. “To be able to experience that with your family — and not just for them to see it, but to experience themselves — it’s just awesome.”

Wayne Tinkle and Lisa McLeod were simultaneous stars of the Montana basketball teams in the 1980s. The 6-10 Tinkle scored 1,500 career points and grabbed 836 rebounds. McLeod scored 1,470 points and had 830 rebounds.

They married and followed Wayne’s 12-season professional career through Europe, across Sweden, Italy, Greece and Spain. They returned full-time to Missoula in 2001, where Wayne became a Grizzlies’ assistant coach before ascending to the top job in 2006.

He has led his alma mater to four-consecutive 20-victory seasons and three N.C.A.A. tournament bids. This season’s sharpshooting team (47.4 percent field-goal percentage) has a deep bench, with seven players making at least 20 3-pointers. While it lost its leading scorer, Mathias Ward (14.8 points per game), to a season-ending foot injury in February, the junior swingman Kareem Jamar was the Big Sky’s most valuable player, and guard Will Cherry the conference’s defensive player of the year.

Montana had close losses to Colorado State, South Dakota State (two overtimes) and Davidson (overtime) — all N.C.A.A. tournament teams.

Despite past success, the ultimate legacy for Wayne and Lisa Tinkle may be their three children.

“They kind of grew up on the basketball court,” Lisa said. “They knew the borders of the court, and that was their playground. They were never forced to play basketball, but they were surrounded by it.”

Joslyn is considered the best girls’ basketball player in Montana history. She won two state championships, was a four-time all-state selection (and a three-time choice in volleyball), and was named a first-team all-American as a senior. Playing alongside the Stanford all-American Chiney Oswumike, Tinkle is second on the team in scoring and averages 5.7 rebounds per game. She will get her degree this spring (a sociology/communications double major) and hopes to play basketball professionally.

Elle, 6-2, was a freshman in high school when she and Joslyn teamed up for a state championship. She was a three-time all-state player who also ranked among Montana’s best track athletes, finishing second in the 400 meters and sixth in the 200 as a junior.

She has played about eight minutes a game for Gonzaga. The most memorable game came when Stanford visited Gonzaga in December. It is a three-hour drive to Spokane — “If it’s one of the Tinkles, it’s probably two and a half,” Elle said.

Family and friends wore T-shirts reading “Stanzaga” and “Gonzford.” The sisters guarded one another during some stretches. Joslyn and Stanford won easily, 69-41.

“She’s the biggest role model I have,” Elle said of her sister.

The best basketball player of the bunch, though, might be Tres. He already has a 71-inch wingspan, his father said.

“He’ll probably be my height, but he has way more skill than I had at that age,” Wayne Tinkle said. “A lot can change in a couple of years, but I think he’ll get recruited at every level.”

Montana has been unable to keep the Tinkle children at home for college, and Tres’ talent may send him far from home, too — another challenge for the parents, who wish they were able to see their children play in person more often.

The first time that Wayne and Lisa together saw Joslyn play a game for Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., was last month. Sunday will be the next — but they will miss Elle playing for Gonzaga.

“We have to clone our parents to see all of our different things,” Elle said.

But on those rare occasions when the whole family is at home in Missoula, they can make a fearsome five on the driveway court.

Several years ago, Wayne was playing a pickup game on a playground with Lisa; Joslyn, then in middle school; Wayne’s brother; and his niece. Another group of players wanted the Tinkles to share. The Tinkles offered to play them for the court.

“We won about five straight,” Wayne Tinkle said. “And then we said: ‘You’re probably right. We’ve been here too long.’ ”

Now Wayne Tinkle has his own starting five. And it is a safe bet that no other family in the country could knock them off the court.

“As for guys and girls and parents,” Wayne Tinkle said, “I don’t know that I can think of anyone.”
Good find, 96. Thanks for posting.

Great family!

Great article & press for the Montana basketball program! Surprised the NY Times didn't call Pat Williams for his opinion on the Tinkles.
Great story, pretty remarkable family...gonna be a very sad day to see Wayne and Co leave. Wish he and Tres would stay, but it just won't happen unless someone pays that man.