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Meet the 2019 Little Sullivan Award finalists: Tres Tinkle

Posted at 3:50 PM, Apr 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-22 16:33:03-04
Former Missoula Hellgate star Tres Tinkle, now a redshirt junior at Oregon State, was named to the Julius Erving Award Watch List. (SLIM KIMMEL/MTN Sports)

Tres Tinkle’s run as an amateur athlete may come to a close this summer, meaning his chances of being named the Montana Amateur Athletic Union Little Sullivan Award winner could also be dwindling.

Tinkle, the former Missoula Hellgate High School basketball standout and two-time first-team all-Pac-12 selection at Oregon State, entered his name in the 2019 NBA Draft but has not hired an agent, giving him until May 29 to withdraw from draft consideration.

Tinkle is one of four male finalists for the 2019 Montana AAU Little Sullivan Award, given annually to the outstanding male and female amateur athletes that show athletic excellence, leadership, character and sportsmanship.

“We’re thrilled that Tres is a finalist for the Little Sullivan Award. We have such fond memories of the state of Montana and this award. It would be special to add his name to the incredible list of winners before him. To even be considered is a great honor,” said 
Tinkle’s coach and father, Wayne.

Tres’ oldest sister, Joslyn, won the award in 2012. Joslyn Tinkle starred at Missoula Big Sky High School before enjoying a standout career at Stanford University, where she scored more than 1,000 career points.

A two-time Montana Gatorade boys basketball player of the year at Missoula Hellgate, Tres Tinkle led the Knights to the 2013 Class AA state championship before capturing second- and third-place trophies the following two seasons.

Tinkle averaged 24.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.5 blocks per game as a senior, and finished with a Hellgate-record 1,544 points.

Tinkle joined his father in Corvallis, Ore. and has climbed to No. 7 on OSU’s career scoring list with 1,661 points. He’s also ninth in career rebounds (670) in program history. Tinkle owns the nation’s longest active double-figure scoring streak, scoring 10 or more points in 65 consecutive games.

The two-time all-conference selection averaged 20.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.7 steals as a redshirt junior last season.

“Tres has worked extremely hard for us here at Oregon State and has accomplished a lot. He’s never forgotten where he came from or the many people across the state of Montana that helped him to get where he is today,” said Wayne Tinkle. “Thanks to the (Little Sullivan) committee and congratulations to all the finalists.”

Tinkle joins former Forsyth and MSU-Northern wrestling standout Brandon Weber, Colstrip-turned-Montana State football defensive lineman Tucker Yates and former Great Falls CMR multi-sport athlete Jayse McLean, who currently plays baseball at North Dakota State University, as the four finalists for the male Little Sullivan honor.

Alisha Breen (Choteau, MSU Billings basketball), Hailey Copinga (Billings Skyview, Rocky Mountain College volleyball), Makena Morley (Bigfork, University of Colorado cross country and track and field) and Sydney Stites (Bozeman, Iowa State University softball) make up the four female finalists.

The 2019 Montana AAU Little Sullivan banquet will be held Saturday, May 4 at the Red Lion Hotel in Billings. Tickets to the event are available until May 1 and can be purchased by emailing or by calling (406) 489-0251.

All current card-holding adult Montana AAU members, plus Montana media representatives, are eligible to vote for this year’s winners by emailing selections to by Monday, April 22.

Montana AAU Little Sullivan Award 2019 finalists

Female finalists

Alisha Breen — Choteau, MSU Billings basketball
Hailey Copinga — Billings Skyview, Rocky Mountain College volleyball
Makena Morley — Bigfork, University of Colorado cross country and track and field
Sydney Stites — Bozeman, Iowa State University softball

Male finalists

Jayse McLean — Great Falls CMR, North Dakota State University baseball
Tres Tinkle — Missoula Hellgate, Oregon State basketball
Brandon Weber — Forsyth, MSU-Northern wrestling
Tucker Yates — Colstrip, Montana State University football