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PAC-12 MEN'S BASKETBALL MEDIA DAY


October 8, 2019


Wayne Tinkle


San Francisco, California

WAYNE TINKLE: Yeah, thanks for all of you coming out. We're excited to be here, exciting year in front of us at Oregon State. We love the group of returners that we have, combining with the recruiting class. Big expectations, and we can't wait to get things going.

Q. For the first time I think since you took over at Oregon State, you have depth.
WAYNE TINKLE: Yes indeed.

Q. How is that going to affect what you bring to the floor every night?
WAYNE TINKLE: Well, we're excited about that, and the depth has to have production, right, in order for it to take effect. But there's some things we haven't been able to do defensively that I had in years past, just because we couldn't wear our guys out. That being said, I thought last year especially we did a lot of good things, but because we had to play guys so many minutes, I think that caught up to us a little bit at the end, and you saw we lost some close games down the stretch.

But I think we'll be able to rest guys a little bit more. Hopefully that's the plan. So that we can build the team and then peak at the right time.

But the defensive things that we talked about, I think because of the talent in that depth, we're going to be able to free up some guys that maybe who have had a lot of pressure on them in the past to produce for us night in and night out, so that's what we're looking forward to.

Q. I know Jarod Lucas is a freshman, but I get the sense he's separating himself from the rest of the pack in practices. What makes him special?
WAYNE TINKLE: Well, he's the all-time leading scorer in Southern California history for a reason. He can put it in the basket. We didn't shoot it particularly well last year, and he's one guy that we think brings that, and the surprise has been his toughness and his IQ to pick up our concepts on the defensive end, and so that more than just rolling him out there to make shots I think is going to give him an early shot.

Then you talk to Gianni Hunt and some of the other guys, Julien Franklin, big Dearon Tucker, the things that they're bringing each and every day has brought a sense of urgency to some of the veteran guys to now be at their best day in and day out. When you create competition, it's a great creator of discipline and the character that we want to see.

Q. Tres is the old man in the league now --
WAYNE TINKLE: He hates hearing that.

Q. But it gives you kind of a guy in terms of being wily and things, kind of mentally can do some things out there that not a lot of 18 or 19-year-olds are going to know about yet?
WAYNE TINKLE: Yeah, it's great, and you see that across the country when you run across guys in their fourth year or fifth year, just that maturity they bring to the team. The big thing as coaches we want to know who we can count on night in and night out and it's good to know who you can't count on. Hopefully you have more of the former, but he's a guy we know what we're going to get from, and I think the biggest improvement that I've seen in the off-season is his mental take on leading his teammates.

Now, he's really excited about that group, but his frame of mind for all that he's been through, I think he's in a place where he's not content by any means but that I've got to prove up because I'm a coach's kid. He's beyond that now, and I just -- the way he's approached his teammates and the way he's approached his leadership has shown great maturity, and that's probably the single most thing that I've been impressed with with some of the other things that he's worked on this off-season.

Q. When it went to the NBA thing, did that become kind of a different deal, his dad and coach?
WAYNE TINKLE: Yeah, I made sure that I was more -- he called me dad more than coach through that period. But no, really it was a neat process. I'm an old-school guy. When you finish your season, especially when maybe it didn't end the way you wanted, I know we're required to give the guys X amount of time off, but then I want to get going. Let's get going in the off-season and start working towards next year. It's hard when you've got guys like, okay, now I'm going to test the waters and you worry about what that does to your locker room. But I thought both Ethan and Tres showed great maturity in that they still worked with their teams, when we met to work out, and then they did what they had to do on the side to prepare for that experience.

It was a good experience. I was more of a guidance counselor as far as selecting of an agent, and then when we got the feedback, it was decision time. He was the one that just -- he came into my office with a big grin on his face, and I said, what are you smiling about, and he's like, I'm nervous. I'm like, shoot, you've known me for 22, 23 years. He said, no, I'm excited to be coming back. I love the group that we have, and we haven't looked back since.

Q. Ethan will be your point guard again?
WAYNE TINKLE: You know, we hope to move Ethan off the ball at some point. If we played tomorrow he may be there but Antoine Vernon really had a good offseason for us. We have Gianni Hunt, who we mentioned that we hope to groom.

But it would -- we've missed two things that I think are two of their strengths: Their ability to run the floor, get the ball up in transition and go finish, because they've been our leading rebounders. So by putting somebody else at the point and having our bigs rebound a little bit better, we think we're going to be able to maybe show some of those things this season.

Q. Tres coming back, you signed a contract extension. Any relation there?
WAYNE TINKLE: No, we just announced today, and his decision was a long time ago. I would hope not, but I'll tell you, there's security in both sides of that.

Q. How does that work? Is that something that they call you and ask for it, you call them? Do you have an agent? How does that process work when you're a sitting coach?
WAYNE TINKLE: Yeah, I think you have a year-ending kind of evaluation with your boss, and then you talk about the direction of the program. Obviously we did something that hadn't been done in over 30 years. Our 30 years I think with a winning record last season in league.

But Scott has been great from day one. This is really just a formality. He loves what we've done with the program, the commitment to the academic piece and the athletic piece, how we're doing things, doing things the right way, and obviously that's shown along with President Ray in rewarding that extension.

Q. Mick Cronin was up here and talking about sticker shock about housing prices in LA. Have you talked to him about housing prices in Corvallis?
WAYNE TINKLE: It's not too far behind, but it's funny, I talked with one of their assistant coaches and he said he couldn't believe the prices and finding a place. He said I had to compromise on the house for the backyard, so there's always trade-off.

Q. What are you looking forward to most this year?
WAYNE TINKLE: Just the gelling of the young guys with our veteran group, and we bit off a lot with our schedule early on. We're playing some tough teams out of the gate, and not only -- we're not just looking to get experience from that, we're looking to win. But I think seeing how our team approaches that early season and then watching them develop over the course and then hopefully again peaking in March, I think that's what I look forward to the most.

Q. How is Kylor Kelley's game right now?
WAYNE TINKLE: Kylor, I'll tell you, he's probably grown -- his confidence has gone through the roof. I'd love to say he's 250 right now, but he's not. He hasn't put on much weight, but he has gotten stronger. He's actually seeking contact now, and he's just playing with a whole new level of confidence. We're going to hopefully, with the addition of the two younger big guys, be able to move him to the 4 and show his ability to step out, isolate off the elbows, pick-and-pop a little bit. He's got a great little jump shot from 15 to 16 feet, and putting it on the ground a time or two, getting to the rim.

Defensively he's really matured. Again, he's comfortable in his skin. He's got to play more than 23 minutes a game, and I think we'll get that out of him just because he's so much -- that much more comfortable.

Q. He'll be able to stay out of foul trouble?
WAYNE TINKLE: That's the key, yeah.

Q. Personnel changes every year, how much different is this team going to be this year than last year?
WAYNE TINKLE: Yeah, it just seems like across the board everywhere, with the transfer portal, with guys leaving early, your rosters turn over a lot more than they used to. But it also -- if you're on top of things gives you an opportunity to kind of continue with the momentum that was built. I think, again, and depth, again, it has to perform, it has to produce, but I feel like the depth and the talent level is maybe as good as we've ever had at Oregon State. I just think that it's going to be -- it's all going to come out in the wash once we hit the floor.

You know, you talk about all the hype and players and the expectations and predictions and all that, we know how good all you guys are with those. None of it matters, and I had a good talk with our team earlier in the week, and it really comes down to what's done on the floor, and those things are exciting and people want to get the hype going about hoops, but it's really about getting it done on the floor from start to finish, and our guys are champing at the bit to get to that.

Q. You haven't played a game in a while.
WAYNE TINKLE: No.

Q. How anxious do you get? Are you like, can we just go?
WAYNE TINKLE: Pretty fired up, yeah. Again, you've got to take the proper steps. We've got to gel, get this group to come together, but we want to hit the floor. We're doing something different this year because we have so many new guys, we're playing two exhibition games as opposed to the closed private scrimmage and one exhibition game. We felt like the more opportunities to get our guys to be introduced, to play in front of a crowd, will help us get out of the gate when we're playing in earnest.

Q. What kind of a difference do you expect Dastrup to made?
WAYNE TINKLE: Well, Payton is going to be key. I just texted him a message the other night, we're not going to be as good a team as we hope to be if he's not performing for us. He's very skilled. He can shoot. He can pass. We've got to get him to where he wants to do the dirty work. He hasn't played consistently since really his senior year. He went on the two-year mission. He served a backup role for two years at BYU. So he's got to be able to defend and rebound to earn the opportunity to get out there on the floor.

But when he's right and when he's doing those things, he adds a lot. I go back to Olaf, who at 6'10", he didn't like to mix it up, but he was such a threat from three, could play in the high post because he could pass, but then Olaf learned how to defend and rebound in his senior year, which was big for us. We hope Payton will follow that same path.

Q. Can you talk about Ethan Thompson's maturity over the years? You've been able to have him multiple years. To me he seems like a man and I met him when he was a boy. Just curious what your thoughts were on Ethan?
WAYNE TINKLE: Love having Ethan, and just to see how he's blossomed, it was funny, you try to recognize differences in your own children's personality, but having both he and Stephen in our program, they're just -- they're night and day with their personalities, and Ethan is a little bit -- shows emotions on his sleeve. I remember I got after him one time last year, and he shot daggers at me that I hadn't seen from my wife, and I liked that. It's okay because then he responded and he took his game to a new level.

He feels like we can put a little bit more weight on his back to carry us, and it's one thing about Tres and Ethan, they're two of the more competitive guys that I've seen or coached. Sometimes that can get you in a little bit of trouble, but I think with what they have working with them this year, we're going to see a whole 'nother level of the way they play.

Ethan just -- getting back to that whole day of playing in the shadow of your brother, we asked him out here, he's tired of hearing about it, but he's got the personality. I don't think that he put a wet blanket over himself. But I think now he's going to even be more vocal and exert more leadership knowing that maybe this is his team and it's his time.

Q. In regards to scheduling, you didn't make it into an exempt tournament this year. I'm not sure if that was by design or not. I know you were able to get a couple nice neutral court games.
WAYNE TINKLE: Yeah, well, we are playing in the Las Vegas deal where we're playing San Jose State in Las Vegas Las Vegas and then getting three home games out of it, just not carrying that -- so it's a multi-team event, and the problem was we were having issues getting home games, and that was one way this year to get more home games.

But we're already signed on to go to Cancún the following year, and we'll hope to get into some more of those events year in and year out for sure.

Q. And then you talked about your depth earlier. Outside of Dastrup, who of the other newcomers are you counting on the most this year?
WAYNE TINKLE: Boy, it's still pretty early, but Dastrup having been in our program for a year redshirting probably has a leg up. But I look to two guys, Zach Reichle and Alfred Hollins, who are juniors but have had a ton of experience. Both those guys, Zach has gone nuts in the weight room. He really wants to be competitive and wants to have a big role on this team. We're trying to help him be clear on what that role is. I mean, he'll admit he hasn't shot the ball like he knows he's capable of, but he's maybe had some other things going on to where if we just focus on him playing D, taking and making the right shots, I think it's going to take some pressure off.

He's got a lot to prove, not to us. We know what he's capable of. But people were wondering what kind of a role he would have. But he's one of our toughest kids day in and day out, and I know he's going to be big, and bringing in a guy like Jarod Lucas, he's one of those guys who's upped his game because there's great competition there.

Alfred, same thing. He's finally buying in to -- he got caught a little bit with am I playing the 2, the 3 or the 4, and I said, do you want to play the 2, the 3 or the 4 or do you want to play, and he's now trusting that we're going to put him in positions to where he can help the team and have success. Those two, and I mentioned Antoine Vernon, the off-season he had. He's going to be key for us at the point. He just brings a lot of stability and gives Ethan the flexibility of getting off the ball a little bit.

I think those are the veteran guys -- I say veteran. Antoine is only going to be a sophomore, but the returners, those guys right there along with gas trip will probably have the early edge.

Q. Do you have any sense of how this new California bill will allow players to make some revenue from their name and likeness, how it will affect this conference and schools outside of that state who have to recruit against that?
WAYNE TINKLE: Yeah, I mean, that's a -- it's going to be an interesting dynamic because whenever you have different laws in different states that your conference covers, there could be a mess. But there's people that have a lot more initials after their name than mine that will make those decisions. But I know this: I know in the last decade or so, things have really evolved as far as the student-athlete health and welfare, and I know the NCAA is trying to evolve year after year, and I think they will continue to, and we need to trust the powers that be that we're going to continue to try to do what's best for the student-athletes.

We had a little conversation out here, and I know we can all think about the negatives that come from it, but let's try to boil down the positives and see if somehow we can put solutions to regulate those things where it's fair and equitable across the board throughout the country. If that's what we want, we need to make it that way if we're going to continue with the way we have things organized.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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