Tinkles and Thompsons dot Oregon State basketball

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) Oregon State's Tres Tinkle is still learning how to balance basketball and family - no easy task when his dad is his coach.

The sophomore forward has his own apartment now, taking those first steps toward independence. He hasn't quite mastered dinner, however.

''I still go home most nights for a home cooked meal. It's better than what I'm probably going to making for myself,'' he said, laughing. ''But it's good being close to the gym and the campus. Late nights, I'll walk over here and shoot.''

The Beavers, embarking on their third season under coach - and proud dad - Wayne Tinkle, open at home on Friday night against Prairie View A&M. Oregon State hopes to build on last season when the team went 19-13 overall and got into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 26 years.

But it will be a challenge. The Beavers have just one senior on their roster. Star guard Gary Payton II, who led the team with an average of 16 points a game, is playing in the NBA development league and fellow starter Malcom Duvivier has left the team for personal reasons.

Oregon State has a promising group of young sophomores, including the younger Tinkle, Drew Eubanks and Stephen Thompson Jr.

Tinkle, the team's co-captain with Eubanks, is the Beavers' top returner in average points per game (13.1), rebounds (5.4) and assists (1.1). As a starter, he averaged 15.1 points in 11 games.

But he missed the end of last season because of a foot injury which required offseason surgery. He was cleared for full practice three weeks ago and is expected to start Friday.

''It was tough for sure, missing five of the biggest games of the year is not fun, and especially our past history of not making it for so long,'' Tres Tinkle said. ''It stings because you want to be out there, because you worked with them all year and those are your best friends and your brothers competing. You just wish you could be out there helping them.''

He also said watching from the bench was a valuable learning experience.

''I think I just learned the game through a coach's eye, I was able to examine the open spots on the court and things like that,'' he said. ''It helped to put that into my game, where I saw other people doing things. I was able to learn and understand what the coaches were looking at.''

Tinkle and his dad aren't the only father-son duo on the team. Thompson, who averaged 10.6 points per game last season, is the son of assistant coach Stephen Thompson.

And a younger Thompson, Ethan, signed a letter of intent to play for the Beavers on Wednesday. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard is a four-star recruit out of Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, California.

Coach Thompson posted a photo on Twitter with the words: ''I would like to congratulate my son Ethan Thompson on officially becoming a Beaver. This is one of the proudest moments of my life.''

At Pac-12 media day, Tres Tinkle said that every day it gets easier to differentiate between his dad and coach Tinkle.

''It was tough for me just to know who I'm talking to. Once that got figured out, it made things way easier and we've just been growing from there. Obviously, we have days where some are better than others,'' the younger Tinkle said. ''But if we look back and reflect on it, it's unique, and it's awesome to have him by my side the whole way.''

Wayne Tinkle said he agrees the experience is precious.

''By no means is this just a father-son experience. We've got our whole program, our university and everybody behind us,'' he said. ''But the side bar of it is we're able to enjoy some pretty special moments together.''


More college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org/