W. Basketball: Tinkle talks hoops, family, coming to the Farm

Dec. 2, 2011, 1:47 a.m.

Junior forward Joslyn Tinkle scored a career-high 19 points and chipped in nine rebounds in the Cardinal’s latest win over UC-Davis. We caught up with the Missoula, Mont. native to ask her about this year’s Stanford team and all things basketball.



W. Basketball: Tinkle talks hoops, family, coming to the Farm
Junior forward Joslyn Tinkle, averaging 8.5 points per game, is mentoring Stanford's six freshman this year as an upperclassman for the first time. (SIMON WARBY/The Stanford Daily)

Stanford Daily (TSD): This year the team has undergone a couple of changes with an infusion of youth from the big freshman class. What is the team dynamic and what kind of role have you taken on as one of the veterans?



Joslyn Tinkle (JT): I think that’s just something that we as upperclassmen did a really good job of, making sure to smooth the transition. Over the summer a lot of us were here helping the freshmen out. And it is a big advantage for them to come in here, before their freshmen year, to kind of get acquainted with everything, kind of get going in the system. We worked really hard and they pick up things really quickly, which is nice. We didn’t know what to expect, with six freshmen it’s practically half our team, but it’s been great.

And for me, coming in as an upperclassman, you have a kind of different game about you, a different mentality. You want to lead and help these younger kids out as well as be contributors and work with the teammates you’ve been around for longer. I would say it is more fun to be an upperclassman, though.



TSD: What are some of your personal goals this season?



JT: You know, for me, it’s been a little bit different in that coming in as a freshman, I played a lot inside, behind Jayne Appel and [Nnemkadi Ogwumike], and then last year I was a little more on the perimeter, even starting the year at the two-guard. I’m really thankful that I’m able to be a little more versatile and [head coach] Tara [VanDerveer] puts me out there wherever she really needs me.

It’s really about whatever it takes to be out on the court. I mean, who doesn’t love being in the game? I try to go out there and do my best and fulfill my role. And this year I feel like I’m gaining a little more confidence as a contributor, and finding a role for myself, whether it’s inside playing with my back to the basket or being able to step out a little more where I can look inside to those Ogwumike sisters who can just jump out of the gym [laughter].



TSD: How nice is it playing for a coach with VanDerveer’s pedigree and track record?



JT: Tara has had tremendous success here at Stanford. She really knows what it takes to be a top team and compete at this caliber of competition. And she is a really good recruiter. Everyone I’ve been fortunate enough to play with over my past three years has made it truly like a family — we are a sisterhood. It’s not a show and we aren’t lying when we say we’re best friends on and off the court. I feel like that’s something she does a really good job of, recruiting not only really good basketball players but good people. She’s smart in that, and she’s definitely doing things right, otherwise we wouldn’t have this kind of success.



TSD: When did you first think that you might have the chance to do something special on the basketball court?



JT: Well first off, I didn’t really grow up having a college team I loved. Both my parents played basketball, my dad professionally, and so I grew up just being around the game. All of my brothers and sisters play and it’s been fun to have everyone in the family be a part of this. And I guess I had that advantage of having two coaches in the house, just wanting to be in the gym.

But it really clicked when I first started playing AAU basketball. We started traveling, gaining some recognition from college coaches. I remember my first letter I received from a college coach as a freshman in high school. It was pretty spectacular, and just a good feeling and that’s when I thought, ‘Man, I could really make something of this.’ And that’s what’s kept me motivated and driven to compete at this level.



TSD: What drove you to come to Stanford? Your dad is the head coach at Montana and your mom is going into the Hall of Fame there. Why come all the way out to California?



JT: There was a great amount of pressure to stay home. I mean, I’ve lived there for a long time, they have a great system going there, and the best of my high school teammates are playing there. But for me it was a matter of looking at the grand scheme of things. I was recruited across the country, and I took all five official visits to schools. And actually I came here with my last one without having a particular interest in Stanford, until I stepped foot on this campus.

I looked around, and it gave me goose bumps. There are so many opportunities I could have for myself beyond basketball. It came down to where I could see myself happy, living here for four years, without basketball. Obviously I wanted to come here because it’s a top team, and has had great success. But you also couldn’t turn down an education like this. Like I said, I’ve been fortunate enough to have great teammates. And when I did choose Stanford, a lot of people in Montana supported me and still do today. They know this is a place that’s hard to turn down.



TSD: Who wins in a game of one-on-one in your family?



JT: I’d like to say myself, sorry mom [laughter], she’s a great player and we’ve had our fair share of fights in the driveway. But dad, I won’t even play — there’s no chance there. He still has it. Sister Ellie and I really get into it, and Tres, you know he’s really just sprouting up. He’s gonna be quite the player himself. He’s 6-foot-4 and my mom calls me up, tells me he’s tip-dunking in practice. [laughter] I’m afraid to play him when I go back home. So I guess I don’t know who really wins.



TSD: What was it like playing for Team USA in the 2008 FIBA Americas Championship?



JT: It was just amazing. That was the first time I met Nneka and Sarah Boothe who were my USA teammates. But coming in as a younger member in that group was one the best experiences ever. Winning that gold medal, standing up there was just one of the proudest moments I have ever had.

Miles Bennett-Smith is Chief Operating Officer at The Daily. An avid sports fan from Penryn, Calif., Miles graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor's degree in American Studies. He has previously served as the Editor in Chief and President at The Daily. He has also worked as a reporter for The Sacramento Bee. Email him at [email protected]

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